Packaging giant Bemis Co., a firm with a 130-year history in the Twin Cities, is closing a plant in St. Louis Park, and will close one in Minneapolis by year's end, reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The closings will leave 158 people looking for work -- 96 employees at the Minneapolis operation and 62 at the St. Louis Park plant. Both factories make flexible packaging for food under the Curwood brand, a division of Bemis.

Bemis has been drifting away from the Twin Cities for decades. In 2006, the company moved its corporate headquarters to Neenah, WI, a Fox Valley town that was a center for the paper industry and has evolved into a packaging hub. The company had been growing in Wisconsin, not Minnesota, and wanted to move its executives closer to its geographic center.

Melanie Miller, a vice president and treasurer for Bemis, says the two Twin Cities plants slated for closing came under Bemis' control - along with 21 other facilities - when the company acquired Alcan in 2010 for $1.2 billion. Bemis has other factories that produce the same products.

The St. Louis Park plant will close by Aug. 31, and the Minneapolis plant will close between Oct. 1 and the end of 2012, according to letters that Bemis sent to state officials. Workers in St. Louis Park are getting help with finding new jobs, training and some financial assistance from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Bemis Co.

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