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SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — AEP Industries Inc. expanded its new presence in Australia by acquiring an oriented polypropylene film laminator, printer and converter.

AEP paid about US$1 million for Duplas Pty. Ltd. of Sydney, a formerly private firm with annual sales of about US$10 million. Duplas mainly supplies flexible packaging to confectionary, snack food and dairy industries.

AEP has had flexible packaging operations in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, since October, when it bought Borden Inc.'s global packaging business. Borden's Australian sales were about US$35 million per year, AEP spokeswoman Catherine Feeney said in a telephone interview from her firm's office in South Hackensack, N.J.

The former Borden operations in Australia do not extrude OPP film but are involved in printing, laminating and converting, Feeney said.

``[AEP's] operations in New South Wales will complement our present manufacturing and distribution capacity and should provide expansion opportunities in the Queensland market,'' J. Brendan Barba, AEP chairman and chief executive officer, said in a news release. AEP completed the deal Dec. 23.

AEP's purchase of the former Borden business extended its operations to 12 countries in North America, Europe, Asia, the Pacific Rim and Africa. The business had annual sales of about US$624 million.

Feeney said AEP is ``always looking for expansion opportunities'' but she would not disclose where AEP plans to build on its acquired Borden business. Feeney said AEP will keep Duplas' existing management, including general manager John Salvage. Duplas employs about 50.