By Ahmed Eljechtimi
RABAT (Reuters) - Norway's Elopak, a global supplier of carton packaging and filling equipment, is seeking a buyer for its plant in Russia, where it has suspended all activities since the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, the company's chief executive officer said.
The company has joined a long list of western firms that halted all operations leaving assets worth billions of dollars in Russia after its invasion of Ukraine.
"We are exploring all opportunities of what we can do, including selling the plant,” Elopak CEO Thomas Körmendi told Reuters in an interview, without giving further details.
Elopak's St Petersburg plant was the leading supplier of milk carton packaging in the Russian market, he said.
"So far we have been compensating the production shortfall in Russia with increases elsewhere," he said.
The company's factory near Kyiv is operating at "very low" volumes, Körmendi said, speaking ahead of a company event in Casablanca.
The operations in Ukraine and Russia accounted for 9% of the company's revenue, he said.
Elopak, with an annual output of 15 billion carton packages, hopes to further bolster production after it sealed a joint venture with India's GLS last week.
The company, which went public last year, in March completed the acquisition of Naturepak Beverage, which has two liquid packaging plants in Morocco and Saudi Arabia, seeing strong demand driven by demographic growth and urbanisation in Africa and the Middle East.
These recent deals will broaden the company's geographic presence, Körmendi said, adding that Casablanca is well positioned to serve as a hub for Elopak's exports to the African market.
"What we are looking at now is really beefing up and expanding what we have rather than acquiring new things," he said.
Demand for carton packages is set to grow as the global sustainability agenda presses ahead with low-carbon targets, he said.
(Reporting by Ahmed Eljechtimi; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)