Ukraine: Vetropack’s Gostomel plant severely damaged

Vetropack's Ukrainian container glassworks in Gostomel has been severely damaged by military activity. The precise extent of the damage to the glassworks is not yet known but “restarting production will not be possible in the near term,” said Johann Reiter, CEO of Vetropack Holding. No employees have been hurt or killed. “We are glad that we chose to suspend production in time,” Reiter added. The plant had been closed for security reasons on the day of invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine on 24 February 2022. “By doing this, we have been able to prevent there from being any victims among our colleagues as a result of these events," he was quoted in a press release.

Gostomel is one of Vetropack Group's nine European production sites. In the Ukraine, Vetropack produces a variety of glass packaging with three melting tanks and eight production lines. In 2021, Vetropack Gostomel contributed around 10 percent to Vetropack Group sales and EBITDA.

Gostomel is a north-western suburb to the capital city of Kyiv. The town is mainly known for Hostomel Airport, also known as Antonov Airport, a major international cargo facility which is of strategic importance for the invading troops. Control of the airport would allow Russia to quickly reinforce its fight with troops and supplies and would make a defense of the Ukrainian capital difficult. Therefore military actions started already last week and continue to date.

Since production of glass packaging requires continuous supplies of electricity and gas, as well as very high temperatures, the military actions mean a major risk to any glass production in the country.

Verallia, the other major container glass producer in the country also suspended production at its Zorya site while keeping its two furnaces in hot condition for the moment. Zorya lies in the West part of the country and Verallia has therefore not suffered as much as Vetropack in Gostomel.

”We have decided to temporarily shut down production – in line with our crisis plans – in an orderly and controlled manner at the present time in order to protect the workforce,” said Dr. Dirk Bissel, CEO of Verallia Deutschland AG, to which the site belongs last Monday.

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