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PLASTICS NEWS STAFF
By Frank Esposito

CHICAGO (June 30, 11:10 a.m. EDT) — Ampacet Corp. chose NPE to unveil an array of global expansions and acquisitions, including a new plant in China, expansions in Canada and Thailand and acquisitions in Italy, England and Brazil.

The new plant is expected to be near Shanghai, where Ampacet recently opened a sales office, Ampacet President and Chief Executive Officer Robert DeFalco said June 24 at NPE 2003. The site should open in late 2005 or early 2006.

“We’ve been selling into China for years,” he said. “But you really need to have a local presence.”

Ampacet’s buys of Polimaster srl in Busto Garolfo, Italy; PolyColour Ltd. in Telford, England; and Corland of Camicari, Brazil, appear to be examples of “buying on the dip,” given the sluggish state of the global economy.

“We do have some history of doing things like that,” DeFalco said, pointing out that the firm entered Thailand under similar conditions.

“We believe in finding opportunities when things might not be going so good,” he added. “We have a strategy that expands well into the future. We’re not a public company, so we don’t have to look to results for the next quarter. Having only a single owner in Norman Alexander, we can take a long-term approach.”

DeFalco declined to offer sales estimates or employee counts for the firms to be acquired. But he provided information on those moves and the site expansions.

The Italian and British firms produce specialty color concentrates for the blow molding and injection molding markets. Ampacet has been working to expand into those markets and grow beyond its traditional base in film. Increasing its profile in color also is a priority.

The Brazilian firm primarily produces commodity-grade white concentrates, DeFalco said.

In Canada, Ampacet will move from its site in Delta, British Columbia, to a larger, 60,000-square-foot site in the same city. The firm also will install a pair of new extrusion lines in Delta to support color concentrate work in injection molding and blow molding.

In Thailand, a 30,000-square-foot warehousing and manufacturing space expansion will allow Ampacet to do more color concentrate work in film, blow molding and injection molding. The site had been focused on making product for the biaxially oriented polypropylene film market.

The Thai project will create 30-50 jobs. DeFalco said he was unsure how many new jobs would result from the Canadian effort. He declined to say how much Ampacet was spending on the expansions and acquisitions. Both projects are to open in early 2004.

At NPE, Ampacet focused on several new programs and products, including its Total Bottle Cost Reduction program.

The TBCR program, launched in mid-2002, is designed to help molders and consumer packagers reduce cost, decrease time to market and improve sales of packaged consumer brands. Ampacet can suggest alternate multilayer designs or layer materials to make that happen.

Ampacet, which ranks as one of North America’s largest color concentrate makers, posted sales of slightly more than $500 million in 2002, and is on track to grow 3 percent in 2003, DeFalco said.

Ampacet also announced at NPE:

  • The installation of new manufacturing and lab equipment in São Paulo, Brazil. The project will give that site the ability to make custom color concentrates. The equipment also will allow for faster product development to Brazil and surrounding regions, officials said.
  • The debut of commercial offices in Shanghai and Mumbai, India. The firm is looking to establish warehousing in Shanghai as well.
  • The opening of a new and larger commercial office in Mexico City. The firm also operates a warehouse there.