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Conair mulls how it will manufacture products in Brazil

By: Bob Moser
PLASTICS NEWS

May 20, 2013

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL — Auxiliary equipment producer Conair Group, which has sold and serviced machinery in Brazil since 1976 but has no local manufacturing or sales presence, is eyeing Brazilian expansion that could include more service technicians, and a new office with sales staff.

The company is also actively exploring whether to do a manufacturing partnership in Brazil — like it has done in India — or to build its own manufacturing facility, like Conair has in China, said President Larry Doyle.

"We hope to discover that potential partner this week," Doyle said in an interview at Feiplastic, the Brazilian trade show formerly named Brasilplast, held May 20-24 in Sao Paulo.

"Ideally, we would be manufacturing here within a year," Doyle said.

Producing within Brazil would help Conair compete better on price with local equipment manufacturers, due to various import tariffs applied to foreign machines that can raise the final price by as much as 50 percent.

Brazilian plastics companies that buy Conair equipment would also be able to apply for low-interest public financing from Brazil's National Development Bank (BNDES), which often stipulates a high percentage for locally-produced goods or services in loan applications.

The company's ability to better serve customers and deliver equipment faster with local production is the most attractive aspect of expanding in Brazil, Doyle said. Conair's Brazilian clients are currently serviced by staff in Mexico.

Conair produced equipment in Brazil for a few years in the 1970s, until market conditions and governmental regulations forced an end to the operations, said Bill Hricsina, international business manager.

"Today, however, we see great potential, and the question is not if we will ramp up our participation in Brazil, but simply how we'll do so," Hricsina said.

Doyle and Hricsina declined to comment on which Brazilian equipment manufacturers they will discuss a potential partnership with this week. Conair produces more than 450 different products, including blenders, feeders and conveyer systems, resin-drying systems, temperature-control equipment, extrusion solutions and plastics process integration.