Dart Container

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Dart Container Corporation
Industry Single-use food service packaging
Founded 1960
Founder William A. Dart
Headquarters Mason, Michigan
Number of locations
45 Production, Distribution, Office Facilities
Key people
Robert C. Dart, CEO
Kenneth Dart, Chairman
Products Foam food service products
Plastic cups & containers
Paper cups
Number of employees
Website http://dartcontainer.com

Dart Container Corporation[1] of Mason, Michigan, United States is the world's largest manufacturer of foam cups and containers, producing about as many as all competitors combined.[2] Dart Container is privately held by the Dart family.

In May 2012, Dart acquired Illinois-based Solo Cup Company and now has approximately 15,000 employees and more than 45 production, distribution center, and office locations in eight countries.[3]

Company history[edit]

Dart Manufacturing Company was founded in 1937 by William F. Dart as a machine shop, manufacturing key rings, steel tape measures, and dog tags for the Department of Defense.[4] When his son, William A. Dart, came out of the University of Michigan with three degrees (metallurgy, mathematics, and engineering), he worked for DuPont briefly, then joined the family business in the late 1950s. He experimented with and perfected an expandable polystyrene (EPS) molding process, and shipped their first insulated foam cups in April 1960.[4] Dart Container Corporation was incorporated in 1960.[5]


Dart Container Corporation is vertically integrated, which, according to the company, makes it "virtually self-sufficient". "We manufacture our own equipment, produce the raw material for our products, turn the raw materials into finished products and then deliver them throughout the world via trucks we own and operate. There are only a few things, like cartons, that we don’t produce in-house. We even have our own printing capabilities and make our own ink!"[4]

In 2006, Family Business ranked Dart Container 37th in their listing of family companies, with an estimated $1.1 billion in sales, and 4,950 employees.[6]

Solo Cup Company[edit]

Dart Container purchased Solo Cup Company in May 2012 in a deal valued at approximately $1 billion.[7] The iconic Solo red cup was slated to remain under the Solo name.[8]

IRS controversy[edit]

The company is owned by brothers Kenneth B. Dart and Robert C. Dart, who renounced their U.S. citizenship in 1994.[9] Kenneth Dart then established a relationship with the nation of Belize, which promptly sought U.S. permission to open a consulate in Sarasota with Dart as its consul.[10] The request was rejected by the State Department, and the brothers eventually moved to the Cayman Islands.[11] They have several business concerns on the islands, including Dart Enterprises which is a holding company involved in several projects,[12] including the Camana Bay town development.[13]

In 2001, the US Internal Revenue Service said the Dart brothers improperly billed $11.6 million of personal security costs to Dart Container. In U.S. Tax Court, Dart Container argued the money was a valid business expense due to "specific threats and other facts and circumstances". Half the money went for corporate aircraft. The IRS asked for $4 million more for 1996 and 1997 taxes. In 2003, the Internal Revenue Service took the brothers to court, saying they owed an additional $19 million in 1998 and 1999 taxes.[9] In 2002, the Dart brothers and their companies paid $26 million in back taxes.[9]

In May 2013, fifty agents of the Argentine tax authority raided the local Dart Container subsidiary Dart Sudamericana SRL on alleged tax evasion charges. The tax authority claimed that the firm imported polystrene beads at inflated prices, thus avoiding taxable gains through the unfair transfer pricing scheme.[14]

Relation to other notable Darts[edit]

Rollin Dart[edit]

Rollin Dart of Mason, Michigan, who served as chairman of Dart National Bank from 1962 to 2007, is a cousin of the Dart Container family.