NEWCASTLE BUYS OPTIPLAST ASSETS

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Newcastle Packaging has moved recently purchased extrusion and bag-making machinery to its head office plant in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., and to its Morristown, Tenn., facility.

Newcastle boosted its extrusion and bag-making capacity with the Feb. 28 acquisition of most assets of Optiplast Inc. of Los Angeles.

Newcastle President Lance Rosenzweig said his firm bought an Alpine three-layer coextrusion line for polyethylene film; five monolayer, high density PE film lines; 10 bag-making machines; and five printing presses. He did not disclose terms of the all-cash deal, but he said Newcastle did not buy Optiplast's accounts receivable.

Rosenzweig said in a telephone interview that the purchase gives his firm new, three-layer film capability and several proprietary bag designs and dispensing systems. It also boosts Newcastle's retail bag business, making it one of the broadest product offerings in the country, he claimed.

Former Optiplast officials declined comment on why they decided to sell Optiplast assets. They said they are no longer in the plastics business. Rosenzweig said they sold most of the assets because the 6-year-old business ``wasn't performing the way they wanted.'' Camran Farhadi was president and majority owner of Optiplast.

Optiplast's annual sales of about $8 million will expand Newcastle's sales to about $40 million per year, Rosenzweig said. Newcastle now has 22 extrusion lines and about 40 bag-making machines at its two plants and more than 200,000 square feet of production and warehousing space.

Rosenzweig and partner David Nash, Newcastle's chief executive officer, founded the company in 1993 to make acquisitions.

Newcastle entered production in 1994 when the new firm bought LTD Packaging in Santa Fe Springs. Newcastle then acquired its Morristown facility, formerly called Linpac Flexible Packaging, in 1996 from Linpac Inc. of Atlanta.

Rosenzweig said Newcastle continues to look for acquisitions that fit existing businesses, but he revealed no details. Newcastle Packaging is the operating unit of holding company Newcastle Group Inc.

Morristown, an ISO 9002-certified facility, makes zipper deli bags, merchandise bags and three-layer bags.

Santa Fe Springs focuses on printed merchandise bags, jumbo T-shirt bags, industrial bags and converter film, Newcastle officials said in a March 13 news release.

Parham Farahnik, Optiplast's former national sales manager, joined Newcastle as regional sales manager in Santa Fe Springs.