Kingsburg to lose manufacturer, 53 jobs next month

Silgan Containers will close its Kingsburg plant at the end of October.Silgan Containers will close its Kingsburg plant at the end of October.Silgan Containers will close its can manufacturing operation in Kingsburg as Del Monte winds down its fruit processing plant there. City Manager Don Pauley confirmed the closure, resulting in the loss of 53 jobs at Silgan by the end of October.

That number adds to the loss of more than 1,000 seasonal positions provided by the Del Monte peach plant.

"Silgan leases space at the Del Monte plant site,” Pauley said. "They were the on-site supplier of the cans for the fruit plant."

Both Del Monte and Silgan are planning to consolidate their Kingsburg operations elsewhere — Del Monte to Modesto and Silgan to Riverbank, although the company is temporarily laying off its Riverbank crew until January.

According to a notice filed by Silgan with the state Employment Development Department, 1,293 positions in Riverbank would be laid off at the end of October.

The impact of the permanent layoffs in Kingsburg would be far felt, Pauley said.

“Unfortunately, Kingsburg is losing some pretty good paying jobs at Silgan averaging about $50k,” Pauley said.

Silgan started operations in 1899 packaging Carnation Milk. The Nasdaq-traded company today has sales in excess of $2.2 billion.The Woodland Hills-based firm makes metal containers, metal, composite and plastic vacuum closures and plastic containers. Its products hold some of the world's best-known consumer products, including Campbell's Soup, Del Monte fruits and vegetables, Listerine and Friskies Cat Food.

Closure of the Del Monte cannery in Kingsburg is slated for the end of this packing season. The plant employs about 1,100 seasonal workers and about 70 full-time. Some workers have been transferred to other Del Monte plants.

On an optimistic note, Pauley said Del Monte already has strong indication that its warehouse property will be sold quickly, and the 1920s vintage cannery could get a new user as well, Pauley said.

“We have to wait until Del Monte clears out to show the space,” Pauley said, adding interest in both properties is good.

Pauley said the city also got some good news with building plans filed for a new O’Reilly Auto Parts store and a new hardware store coming to town as well.