Buoyed by its recent joint venture with U.S. packaging giant Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc., a fledgling player in the growing Brazilian PET packaging business is investing $50 million to expand its PET bottle blow molding capabilities and begin injection molding closures. Petropar SA of Purto Alegre, Brazil, plans to double its PET bottle capacity to 800 million units a year by mid-1996, said Vasco Bassotto, group director responsible for packaging planning.
Petropar entered the PET bottle molding business last year and invested more than $30.4 million in preform injection molding and bottle blow molding facilities. The company already operates seven 48-cavity Husky preform machines at a new injection molding unit in Hori-zonte, in Brazil's far north. Those seven will deliver 450 million preforms annually.
Petropar transfers the preforms to its blow molding units near big regional Brazilian soft drink and edible-oil consumer centers, including SÃo Paulo, Horizonte and Venancio Aires. Brazil is the world's third-largest soft drink market, consuming 6 billion liters in 1993 alone.
Some of the preforms are delivered directly to bottling plants, where Petropar makes bottles in-house for some major customers.
Earlier this year, Petropar concluded a joint venture with Crown Cork in which the Philadelphia company bought 50 percent of Petropar's plastics container firm Petropar Embalagens SA in return for 50 percent of aluminum can maker Crown Cork do Brasil SA.
As a result of the deal, Petropar plans by year's end to establish plastic closure molding facilities to complement its rapidly expanding bottle manufacturing operations.
Bassotto said his firm in May or June expects to decide on a plant site and on the number and size of injection machines required. The company will spend about $15 million to $20 million on machines for closures, and plans to be in production in December.
Bassotto, speaking recently by telephone from the group's Purto Alegre offices, forecast that the total PET bottle investment project has been delayed because of Brazil's chronic shortage of PET. But the company expects to complete its plan by July 1996.
Bassotto did not provide details about its blow molding equipment, except to say that about 70 percent of the firm's machines are from Sidel, and that the company also uses Krupp and other makes. He said the largest machine currently in production can make 10,000 bottles per hour. The firm plans to install additional equipment, including a machine capable of making 16,000 bottles per hour.
Some of Petropar's major clients include leading Brazilian cola bottlers and producers of other soft drinks, as well as leading makers of soy oil.
Petropar already is a major producer of polypropylene fabric for furniture and carpets, and nonwoven fiber for diapers and sanitary napkins.