NEW YORK - Ball Corp., which became the new player in the PET container game this year, expects to have as many as 10 PET bottle plants by the end of the century. George Sissel, president and chief executive of the Muncie, Ind.-based glass and metal container manufacturer, told conferees at the CS First Boston Packaging Industry 1995 Outlook and Review in New York Sept. 27-28 that Ball's decision to enter the PET container field was a result of the sheer size of the market, and the company's attempts to serve customers, which include the huge soft drink manufacturers.
Ball, which had about $2.6 billion in sales in 1994, is building a plant in Chino, Calif., which will open this year. The company announced it will set up another plant for PET containers in Syracuse, N.Y., by April. Both plants are anchored by long-term agreements with Pepsi-Cola Co. and Pepsi-Cola bottlers.
``Our associations with customers, especially in the area of metal cans, has certainly helped our move into PET,'' Sissel said. ``We are aiming at being the low-cost producer and at the same time helping our customers differentiate their products in the market with products like contour shapes and other products.''
R. David Hoover, executive vice president and chief financial officer for Ball, said that despite its fast growth, which some analysts see continuing at double-digit growth rates, there may be overcapacity in the PET container market.
Hoover noted that companies will be able to achieve good sales overseas, where demand for both metal cans and PET containers continues to grow. Hoover said the company expects food can, beverage and beer can sales to grow in the Pacific Rim and in Latin America, with China and Brazil leading those prospective markets.
Ball's expectations have been bolstered by its merger with Paris-based glass container manufacturer Group Saint-Gobain. Ball will transfer its glass assets into the new joint venture, to be called Ball-Foster Glass Container Co., and will maintain a 42 percent share. The company will operate 22 glass container plants in 15 states, occupying about 30 percent of the glass container market.
``We plan selective and careful expansions,'' Sissel said.