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Staff file photo / Cameron Wallace works on the gluer production line at Southern Champion Tray on Manufacturers Road in Chattanooga in this 2017 photo.

This story was updated at 8:32 p.m. on Monday, June 29, 2020, with more information.

Southern Champion Tray, the 93-year-old Chattanooga-based manufacturer of paperboard items for the bakery and food service industry, has acquired another longtime packaging company.

Honeymoon Paper Products Inc., a 60-year-old business based in Fairfield, Ohio, is a packaging provider to supermarket and retail bakeries, delis, and food service and wholesale companies. It employs about 150 people.

According to SCT, it has acquired substantially all of Honeymoon's assets and will integrate the company's catalog of items into its offerings. SCT also will provide expanded printing technology for Honeymoon's custom packaging business.

SCT President and CEO John Zeiser said the acquisition makes a lot of sense for Southern Champion and Honeymoon customers as the deal expands the breadth of its product line and scope of its manufacturing capabilities.

"Our business model is based on consistently delivering great packaging with distinctive customer service," Zeiser said. "We look forward to welcoming the Honeymoon organization into the Southern Champion Tray family."

The terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

But according to SCT, the acquisition gives customers a stronger portfolio of fiber-based products and innovative capabilities that weren't available with the companies operating independently.

The deal also provides SCT another manufacturing facility that is equipped to serve the bakery and food service industries. SCT now has office, manufacturing and distribution facilities in Chattanooga, Mansfield, Texas, and Fairfield, Ohio.

Sherry Jennings, SCT's marketing manager, said the discussions with Honeymoon were started before the coronavirus outbreak.

"SCT is looking at long-term results," she said about finalizing the deal at this time.

Before the acquisition, SCT employed about 700 people, with more than 500 of those in Chattanooga.

Honeymoon Paper was founded in 1960 in nearby Cincinnati, where it originally produced drinking straws, pizza boxes, pizza circles and other goods.

In 1990, it introduced an environmentally sustainable line of coated, grease-resistant products called Baker's White, according to the company's website. Its products provide better grease resistance than wax, the website said.

Brian Hunt, SCT's chief operations officer, said the company is fortunate to acquire a company with an experienced workforce as well as one that aligns with the Chattanooga venture's culture and values.

"The solution-driven culture at Honeymoon is a perfect complement to the service-focused business model of SCT," Hunt said.

Since 1927, Southern Champion Tray has been manufacturing and distributing sustainable paperboard and corrugated packaging along with food and drink carriers and molded fiber tableware to bakery, food service and catering customers. It sells across the United States and in nearly two dozen export markets.

Last year, SCT introduced new packaging aimed at the popularity of restaurant food delivery services such as Grubhub and Uber Eats. Called the Guarantab, it's a package that's designed to ensure that the food arrives at customers' doors in the same condition it left the eatery, according to the company.

Earlier this year, after the coronavirus outbreak, the company began making face shields for first responders, health care professionals and others.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / An employee works on loading unfolded boxes into a machine at Southern Champion Tray in Chattanooga last year.
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