Tupperware Inc. may add more housewares molding capacity in fast-growing offshore markets, according to company officials. Separately, the Orlando, Fla., firm said it agreed to sell its Halls, Tenn., facility, which stopped production about three years ago. Tupperware opened a sales office in Selangor, Malaysia, on March 29 and is evaluating whether to add more capacity in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for about 26 percent of its sales. Spokeswoman Lawrie Platt Hall said the firm plans to set up a sales office in China this year.
Tupperware's Asian sales, growing at double-digit rates, are supplied by plants in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. Hall could not provide details on where and when Tupperware may add molding capability for the market.
The housewares giant's sales in Latin America also are rising rapidly and ``are bumping up to a capacity constraint,'' Hall said in a telephone interview. Tupper-ware is trying to decide whether to expand plants in Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela or to build a plant for the region.
Tupperware expects to close the sale of its Halls facility to Delta Developments on April 12. The 800,000-square-foot facility has machinery stored in it but Hall would not disclose whether the equipment is part of the deal. It has been used as a distribution point since Tupperware stopped
molding there in early 1993. Halls once had 99 injection presses.
Tupperware's sole U.S. manufacturing plant is in Hemingway, S.C., where it recently laid off workers because of weak U.S. sales and productivity improvements in the plant.
Hall would not comment further on the Halls deal or Delta Developments. Annette Fisher, executive director of Ripley Economic Development Corp., also would not comment on Delta Developments. Ripley Economic, of Ripley, Tenn., helped arrange the sales agreement.
Hall said Premark International Inc. is proceeding with its previously announced plan to spin off Tupperware as a separate firm this year. Tupperware had sales of about $1.4 billion last year, mostly outside the United States.