Smurfit Kappa opens US$38M corrugated cardboard plant in Morocco, eying expansion in North Africa

MOROCCO – Irish corrugated packaging company, Smurfit Kappa has inaugurated €35 million (US$38.59m) corrugated cardboard plant in Morocco, setting the stage for further expansion in a fast-growing region for consumer goods.

The Irish company, which operates in 22 European countries and 13 in South, Central and North America, said the new plant is part of its €4.7 billion (US$5.18bn) investment drive over the last five years.

Located in the Rabat region of Morocco, the 25,000 m² corrugated cardboard plant will provide innovative and sustainable packaging solutions for various sectors, including agriculture.

Construction work started a few days ago in the presence of several local authorities accompanied by Mrs. Nejma El Houda Bouamama, Director of the Regional Investment Center of the Rabat-Salé-Kenitra Region.

This new state-of-the-art factory will create around 300 jobs in the region, both direct and indirect.

The products manufactured will be entirely intended for consumption in the Moroccan market and will meet the needs of local and multinational customers in Morocco, who require competitive, innovative and sustainable packaging solutions delivered quickly and efficiently.

In a market where the demand for corrugated packaging solutions currently outstrips the supply, the opening of this new factory will enhance the value chain for its customers in Morocco.

Finance chief Ken Bowles likened the project to another relatively small investment in the Greek port city of Thessaloniki in 2017 when the acquisition of a small box plant became a platform to expand into Bulgaria and Serbia two years later.

“Thessaloniki wouldn’t necessarily be where you start world domination and Morocco fits that profile… Then you look, does Tunisia offer you a market? Does Algeria?” Bowles said in an interview at Smurfit’s suburban Dublin headquarters.

The Rabat plant, which will generate 30% of its power from 1,500 solar panels, follows a pattern of investments in other emerging economies where the consumption of packaging can grow at a much faster pace than “the relatively stable but not particularly exciting” rates in Europe.

Smurfit Kappa has been commercially present in Morocco since the late 1990s and now has a sales office and a network of manufacturing facilities.

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