Memphis Plastics Corp. bought the blow molding division of Slush Puppie Corp. last month, and already is formulating a growth strategy that may include a new plant in Alabama in 1997. The firm said it has an unusually open relationship with Slush Puppie, a major customer, that it hopes to emulate with other clients.
Memphis Plastics' purchase followed Slush Puppie's acquisition Jan. 31 of the filling and blow molding operation of bankrupt Universal Industries Corp. Mem-phis Plastics and Slush Puppie share the Columbus, Miss., plant, and Slush Puppie is a significant customer - Memphis Plastics supplies all of the firm's plastic juice bottles.
``We operate like one company. We have an open-book policy,'' said Ronald C. Schumann, Mem-phis Plastics' president and chief executive officer. ``It's a relationship that my partner and I are trying to develop with other customers.''
The firm has six extrusion blow molding machines that make 8-ounce to 21/2-gallon bottles. The firm processes high density polyethylene, PVC and polypropylene.
In addition to juice and concentrate markets, the company serves the industrial packaging and toy industries, and hopes to expand into injection molding and other areas of blow molding.
The firm will offer a range of services including conceptual design, materials selection, prototyping, sample runs, production and end-user technical help.
Schumann plans to expand the Columbus plant, and hopes to add a plant in Alabama near an interstate highway next year to serve Nashville, Tenn., Birming-ham, Ala., and Atlanta.
The firm reported blow molding sales of $3 million for the fiscal year ended Oct. 31. It currently has 38 employees working three shifts, five days per week.
Schumann said he and his partner, executive vice president Naresh Swaroop, decided in August to buy the Columbus blow molding operations. Memphis Plastics is owned by the pair plus two other investors.
Universal Industries, a contract packager for the juice industry, filed for Chapter 11 protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in November, the same month that Schumann stepped in to run the blow molding operation.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court eventually agreed to sell the Columbus plant to Cincinnati-based Slush Puppie for $2.4 million. Slush Puppie kept the plant's juice operations, while Memphis Plastics, aided by Small Business Administration financing, bought the blow molding portion of the business, which is in the same plant, Schumann said.
He declined to provide terms of the purchase from Slush Puppie.