MEXICO CITY-Mexico's plastics processing market shrank as much as 80 percent in some sectors during 1995, according to the outgoing president of Anipac, the country's plastics processors association. Rafael Vidales, who runs Polibolsas Mexicanos SA de CV in Mexico City, said Mexico's small molding businesses have been devastated by the country's financial crisis.
However, he said about half of the 400 medium and large Mexican plastics processors are benefiting from the devaluation with increased direct and indirect export sales.
Most of the rest of the nation's 2,500 processing firms have suffered in the depressed domestic market which has shrunk by between 30-80 percent in 1995, Vidales said.
Most of the country's processors are small businesses relying heavily on the home market for sales.
Vidales said a few large processors are taking advantage of new export opportunities because of their superior equipment and technology. Those companies have added sales and maintained their plant operation during this year.
Vidales praised recent government measures to assist industrial firms, particularly small businesses and the hard-hit automotive and construction industries.
Speaking at Anipac's annual meeting in Mexico City, the retiring president told members that while foreign companies - particularly U.S. and Canadian - are actively selling, investing and establishing alliances in Mexico, local producers should be looking south to Central and South America for new export opportunities.
Only 52 percent of Mexican processors recently have modernized machinery and technology - chiefly large and medium-sized firms. The companies that have modernized invested US$780 million in 1994, Vidales said. He recalled that four years ago the industry set a goal to invest US$2.5 billion on modernization.
On the raw materials side, Vidales said the privatization of Mexico's petrochemical sector with the breakup of this section of the state oil monopoly, Petroleos Mexicanos, should help the plastics industry.
Vidales said the industry hopes to obtain better-quality resins, with greater product diversity as well as improved technical support and a better distribution system. However, there is still some concern about future control of supply by foreign interests.
Vidales foresees further restructuring in the processing industry, with a further reduction in the number of processing firms, growing modernization, a reduction in the work force, and a substantial increase in personnel training.
Improvements would be assisted by increased strategic alliances, more trading deals, new formation of integrated groups and a switch in profile away from commodity to added-value products.
The Anipac assembly elected a new management board headed by president Francesco Cecchetti Peregrini of Grupo Plastimac SA de CV. Vice presidents include Juan Manuel Alvarez of Poly-Bag SA de CV; Thom Kukutschka of Smurfit Cart¢n y Papel de Mexico SA de CV; Sergio Alard¡n of Envases Universales SA de CV; and Antonio Villanueva.
The new Anipac secretary is Sergio Sosa of Distribuidora Lube SA de CV. The treasurer remains Raul Ayala of Aliplasic SA.