MIAMI - For 35 years, Alfan Empaques Flexibles SA de CV has created flexible packaging materials for Latin American makers of consumer products, and now it intends to use its experience and flexibility to expand. The Bogot , Colombia-based converter has worked with such multinational giants as Nestle Foods Corp., Gillette Co., Hanes Group and Purina Mills Inc., in creating a range of packaging products, including polyethylene and nylon films; laminations; high-barrier, printed and metalized films; and foil and paper packaging materials for markets throughout Latin America and the Caribbean.
``We have done well and we understand the markets,'' said Eduardo Gaitan Parra, Alfan general manager. ``In order to continue, we will definitely have to expand.''
Gaitan Parra said an expansion of the company's sole plant in Bogot , planned for two years from now, will double its capacity. Although he declined to say how many pounds of material the plant processes, he said the expansion will raise capacity from 180 million square yards of film per year to about 360 million square yards.
``Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, Venezuela and Central America are all strong markets right now,'' he said at the Miami show. ``We feel that there are many areas of our product lines that will be growing and we will need the capacity to supply our customers.''
He said Alfan is taking its time in aiming activities northward, saying that it had not been too active in Mexico, and that the United States and Canada are mature markets saturated with very large, competitive firms.
``Of course it would be desirable to go to those markets,'' he said. ``But it would take time and a good understanding of what we could do.''
He said the firm has seen the popularity and use of metalized films rise at the expense of traditional foils, and that there is also more interest among package material users in forms of oriented polypropylene films.
``These changes are very important to our markets and we need to keep pace with them,'' he said.