NEW YORK - DRG Medical Packaging Inc. said it will begin production this month at a new, $50 million extrusion plant in Bristol, England, the centerpiece of a global expansion plan. Additionally, the firm announced last week at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show that it recently opened a plant in Singapore, created a Brazilian joint venture, and has changed its name.
The Bristol plant, equipped with a high-output cast coextrusion line and a coater laminator, is geared toward supplying customers in the United Kingdom and producing medical-grade roll stock for export.
DRG is consolidating production into Bristol from two plants in England.
The Bristol plant, situated on an 11-acre parcel, is to employ 200 workers when it is at full production.
DRG, based in Madison, Wis., is a unit of London-based Bowater plc, a major paper and plastic products manufacturer. In 1987, Bowater acquired Rexham Inc., a group of U.S.-based companies.
The businesses that now make up Rexham in the United States reported sales of $1.2 billion in 1994, or 35 percent of Bo-water's total.
On June 1, Bowater changed its name to Rexam plc, a movedesigned to unify the company's diverse holdings - including more than 200 different business names - under one worldwide identity. The operating companies are expected to adopt the name change by Sept. 1.
Under the plan, DRG Medical Packaging will become Rexam Medical Packaging. Other U.S.-based companies following suit are Pacur Inc., a PET sheet extruder based in Oshkosh, Wis., which becomes Rexam Extrusions; Release International, a manufacturer of silicone-coated papers and films in Bedford Park, Ill., which becomes Rexam Release; and Rexham Custom, a custom coater and laminator in Matthews, N.C., which becomes Rexam Custom.
Rexam - the former Bowater - said the name change will cost $4 million. The firm said it dropped the ``h'' from the name, producing a word that is easy to pronounce internationally and has no existing meaning.
In Brazil, DRG Medical Packaging said it entered into a joint venture earlier this year with ITAP SA of SÃo Paulo, to make pouches, coated film and paper, and thermoformable films for the medical and pharmaceutical industries in South America.
In Singapore, DRG in September opened a new facility to serve the medical market in Southeast Asia. The plant prints paper and film and serves as a distribution center for Asia and the Pacific region.
V. George Maliekel, DRG vice president of marketing and business planning, said DRG ``seriously'' is considering plans for more plants in Latin America and Asia. By expanding its reach, DRG can serve multinational medical products makers and participate in the growth of local markets by supplying, for example, hospitals.
``Our market is very rapidly evolving to be a global market and we want to be where [we are] needed,'' Maliekel said in an interview at the medical show, held June 6-8 in New York.
In all, DRG has 12 plants worldwide. In the United States, the company has plants in Madison; Ashland, Mass.; Lakeville, Minn.; Mount Holly, N.J.; and Mundelein, Ill.
DRG produces films, laminates and coatings, and provides finishing operations such as printing and labeling.