NEW YORK - Is Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc., three years after its purchase of Constar International Inc., unhappy with Constar's main business - 2-liter PET soft drink bottles? William J. Avery, Crown Cork's chairman, president and chief executive officer, made noises to that effect May 15 at the Paine-Webber Packaging Wrap-Up in New York.
Some future areas of emphasis for Constar's PET business will be in food and general-purpose bottles, where Avery said mar-gins are better and there's plenty of room for growth.
``We will continue to participate in soft drink plastics,'' he said. ``At this point we've got contractual agreements, and we'll certainly fulfill the contractual agreements.'' But he added, ``The returns in some areas are not acceptable. We will look at areas that are acceptable.''
Avery estimated that Crown Cork's plastics units, which also include injection molded closures, will generate about $1.25 billion in sales in 1995.
But he complained that the company's plastics operating margins have declined from more than 11 percent in 1992 to 9 percent in 1993 and about 8 percent last year.
He attributed the softness to Coca-Cola Co.'s increasing use of co-op blow molders, which is creating excess capacity among merchant bottle suppliers. Add to that Ball Corp.'s impending entry into the market and the situation looks dire.
One area where Avery is more enthusiastic is in the single-serve soft drink market, particularly the contour bottles that emulate old-fashioned glass containers.
``Certainly the 20-ounce stylized bottles have been accepted in the marketplace,'' Avery said, calling it the fastest-growing package in the industry.
Initially sold only as single bottles, the cola companies now are rolling out four-, six- and eight-packs.
``I think you're going to see all different packages. Stylized containers in metal, plastic, you name it. It's very exciting,'' Avery said.
Constar also is working on new applications for PET in foods that now are packaged in glass.
The company has developed a PET container for jelly and preserves, but Avery said it has not caught on because the price is not competitive with glass.