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Argentina's top masterbatch producer to expand capacity

By: Bob Moser

July 7, 2014

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — Julio Garcia e Hijos SA, Argentina’s largest domestic producer of color concentrate and compound masterbatches, will expand production capacity in the third quarter by 100 metric tons per month at its newest subsidiary, which is dedicated to unique colors and specialty client orders, the company’s president told Plastics News during Argenplás. The subsidiary, Concentrados y Compuestos SA, began production in July 2012 in Pilar, Buenos Aires province, and focuses on one-of-a-kind thermoplastic masterbatch orders for customers with unique needs.

The company produced roughly 15,000 metric tons in 2013, and its three plants offer a total production capacity of 1,800 metric tons per month. Of that, Concentrados y Compuestos contributes 300 metric tons, but the arrival of three new extrusion lines in July should boost the subsidiary’s production capacity to 400 metric tons per month.

The new lines, dedicated to specialty colored masterbatches at Concentrados y Compuestos, should be operational by the third quarter of this year. However, because the machines were purchased from Europe, the company can’t be certain how many loops it’ll have to jump through to get its assets out of customs in the Buenos Aires port, said President Graciela C. Garcia, in an interview at Argenplás in Buenos Aires.

“In recent years, the import restrictions applied by the federal government, and case-by-case authorizations for imports of materials and machines, have added new challenges to our business,” Garcia said. “The government simply doesn’t settle on and make clear the rules of imports. Our new machines arriving in July, we ordered back in April 2013. The purchase spent more than one year in authorization phase with our government.”

Roughly 95 percent of Julio Garcia e Hijos’ sales are made within Argentina, but the company has to import as much as 70 percent of its raw materials.

Because it is not a net exporter, and thus given import privileges by the federal government, the company had to invest in a safety net last year. The firm added a 2,000-square-meter warehouse in Pilar where it can store raw materials.