A leading Peruvian soft drink bottler is planning a switch from glass to PET one-way bottles to compete with increased use of plastic by the cola giants. J.R. Lindley e Hijos SA of Lima, which produces the local Inca Kola brand, expects to raise the current 7 percent of sales in plastic bottles to 30 percent by 1997. It is investing US$18 million during three years in a new bottling plant in Lima, said Luis Paredes, the firm's chief executive officer.
A subsidiary, Industrias Incorporadas SA (Incorposa), which already blow molds PET bottles for the firm and for other national soft drink bottlers, is investing US$1 million in new molding equipment. It plans to double output to 50 million bottles a year by March, Paredes said.
``We want to increase our production in plastic bottles. We're buying lines [for the new plant], especially for PET bottles, and we intend to increase our sales to at least 30 percent in plastic with 70 percent in glass,'' he said.
The family-run company, which owns the trade names and formula for the yellow carbonated Inca Kola drink, bottles it at a plant for Lima and the neigboring port of Callao, which represents 55 percent of Peru's soft drink market. Eighteen regional bottlers hold licenses to bottle the brand elsewhere in the Peru.
Inca Kola claims a 40 percent share of the national market. It holds a one-third share in Lima. Coca-Cola holds another one-third share, with the balance being held by Pepsi and local brands, according to Paredes.
Lindley's Lima bottling plant now produces 140 million liters annually. While Inca Kola represents 96 percent of output, the plant also produces Bimbo-brand flavored drinks and Seltz-brand water.
The Lima bottler handles seven glass and PET bottle sizes, ranging from 10 ounces to 2 liters, Paredes said. He added that the plant does not have one dedicated PET filling line, but switches production on one glass bottle line when required.
The new plant is scheduled to start up at the end of November 1996. It will have a capacity of 210 million liters annually. The facility will start production with one PET one-way bottle line capable of filling 2 million liters a year. Glass bottling lines will be added in 1997 and 1998.
``The problem for us is that Pepsi and Coca-Cola are increasing production in PET bottles. If we want to compete we need to increase our own proportion in plastic bottles,'' Paredes said.
Incorposa, which started operating only two years ago, does not produce its own injected bottle preforms. It imports the PET preforms, notably from Colombia, Italy and Belgium. A single-machine injection blow molding process is unavailable in Peru, Paredes said.
Lindley uses metal caps and plastic closures on its bottles. The latter it imports from Aluminum Co. of America plants in Colombia and Chile. This situation will change when an Alcoa plant opens soon in Peru, he said.
He said Incorposa is likely to add to its bottle-making line with an additional blow molding machine from Italy's Sipa SpA.