Containers Northwest Corp. in Tumwater, Wash., is forming a joint venture manufacturing operation with Lane Sales Co., a Pepsi-Cola bottler in Tucson, Ariz. The new company will be called Containers Southwest.
Plans call for construction of a 60,000-square-foot facility in Tucson, said Dean Hebb, manager of marketing and sales development for Containers Northwest. He said the company saw some niche markets that needed to be served, including Tucson.
Hebb declined to release information on the cost of the venture.
The company will produce PET bottles for Lane as well as other bottlers in the Southwest. The plant is to be completed in October. The company will employ 25-35 initially.
A group of Pepsi bottlers in the Washington/Oregon regions formed Con-tainers Northwest 31/2 years ago so it could have more control of the PET bottle supply, Hebb said.
From its modern, 250,000-square-foot plant, Containers Northwest makes preforms and PET bottles. Hebb said the company sells preforms around the world, including to customers in the Pacific Rim and Brazil. Currently, it makes 2.5 million preforms per day. The company employs about 100 and claims to be the largest U.S. independent preform manufacturer.
Advantages for the Pepsi bottlers in having their own PET bottle manufacturing company are many, Hebb said. They include cost savings in shipping, backward integration of the bottling process and diversification for some of the bottlers' capital in a related business, plus control over supplies.
``Some of the bottlers feel that with the power generated by the Coca-Colas of the world, they were often second in line when it came to being supplied,'' Hebb said.
``With their own bottle manufacturing, they won't be affected by someone else.''
Supply problems were exaggerated in recent years when PET supplies became tight.