Inteplast Corp. is investing $255 million to expand film and sheet capacity at its Lolita, Texas, manufacturing complex. New capacity will be phased in during the next two years. In the end Inteplast, which began operating in late 1993, will have committed more than $700 million to the operation, according to Vice President Marss Kuo.
Jackson County has granted the firm an eight-year tax abatement on certain assets related to the investment, such as buildings and equipment.
In 1994 the company recorded sales of more than $100 million, Kuo said in a telephone interview from Inteplast headquarters in Livingston, N.J. He said the company hopes to double or triple that this year.
The expansion gradually will create 200 new jobs at the Lolita site, which now employs about 1,500, Kuo said.
The 3 million-square-foot, seven-plant complex houses Inteplast's three film and sheet subsidiaries: Amtopp, World-Pak and Integrated Bagging Systems.
The investment package includes:
$80 million for cross-laminate stretch film capacity. In May, World-Pak started up its first U.S. cross-laminate line. Kuo said Inteplast Group began making the film in 1991 in Colombia. A second line will be working in Lolita by July, with two more lines due later, bringing capacity there to about 300 million pounds per year, Kuo said.
$80 million to expand Amtopp's biaxially oriented PP film plant. It will add two more 8-meter OPP lines by mid-1996, to give it a total of six lines. The coextruded films are used in food packaging, graphic arts laminations and other industrial applications.
$60 million to raise polyethylene bag capacity by 40 million pounds. IBS makes a range of blown PE films used to make T-shirt, produce and garment bags, and consumer and industrial trash-can liners, among other products. The company operates more 100 blown film lines,Kuo said. He put current capacity at about 300 million pounds per year.
$10 million to bring combined capacity for both PE and PP profile sheet to 120 million pounds per year.
$10 million to increase PVC sheet capacity to 80 million pounds annually. World-Pak makes three types of PVC sheet for various applications, ranging from tanks liners to window frames.
$10 million for 40 million pounds of compounding capacity, strictly for in-house use. That project still is being evaluated, Kuo said.
$5 million to begin recycling of post-consumer film. Inteplast is putting a program together to collect and recycle plastic film from Jackson and neighboring counties.
Inteplast already recycles grocery sacks collected by schools nationwide through Phoenix Recycling Co., based in Pawleys Island, S.C.
It also recycles 100 percent of its own scrap, Kuo said. The new post-consumer program, with annual capacity for 40 million pounds, should be in place by the end of the year.
Inteplast applied for its latest tax cuts in January, Kuo said. The county tax cuts are the third round for Inteplast since it began building its mammoth sheet and film complex in 1992, according to Ralph Burgess, general manager of Jackson County Industrial Foundation Inc. The private, nonprofit organization helped arrange the deal for Inteplast, which falls outside city limits and under county jurisdiction.
``They're the largest taxpayer in our county right now,'' Burgess said.
The total county tax base, at about $400 million, will hit $1 billion when Inteplast's eight-year abatements end.
``That's a significant jump,'' he said.
The beefed-up tax base will help the county's schools, hospitals and fire departments, among others, Burgess said. One tax-cut criterion requires Inteplast to hire at least 20 percent of its workers, and as many as 5 percent of its managers, from Jackson County, he said.
``That's our whole purpose of doing this,'' he said. ``We're just pleased as punch to have them here.''
Inteplast is an affiliate of Formosa Plastics Corp. U.S.A., in nearby Point Comfort, which supplies some of its material needs.