MEXICO CITY - Jean Gallay SA, the Swiss manufacturer of Mag-Plastic blow molding machines, is raising its profile in Latin America. The company is opening a service and sales office in May to cover not only Mexico but also Central America, according to Marcelo de la Serna, Mag sales manager for Spain, Portugal and Latin America.
Mag, which began to develop the Latin American market in 1992, runs another sales and service subsidiary in Buenos Aires covering South America. To date, the manufacturer has supplied 30 machines to the region.
``In 1993 - the first year in which we had Mag-Plastic operating in Buenos Aires, there was an increase in sales of 60 percent,'' de la Serna said at Mexico City's PlastImagen '96 show, where the firm exhibited for the first time.
Mag had planned to launch its new Mexican subsidiary at the show, but a delay in completion of official paperwork delayed the firm's formation.
Mag, which specializes in small, flexible two-cavity blow molding machines, has sold nearly 300 worldwide to date, said de la Serna.
Despite the slowdown in the PET revolution as the result of high resin prices and a regional economic recession, the Geneva firm anticipates powerful market growth.
De la Serna indicated that his company stands a good chance of capturing new ground in the fast-developing newer material areas, such as a polyethylene naphthalate for hot-fill applications. Local blow molders are looking more to new European and U.S. technology nowadays, he said.
``Latin America's developing much faster than we expected,'' he said. ``We believe we will be the leaders there because we have some new developments for the market.''
Apart from a booming soft drink market and growing water bottle applications, de la Serna sees opportunities in the detergent, edible oil and beer markets.
He points to the use of PET for beer in Canada, noting that the latter application exists in Peru, too. Beer ``is going to be a big market,'' he predicted.
Prior to PlastImagen, Mag had sold 10 machines in Mexico. De la Serna forecasted a doubling of that number by year's end. He said he had received at least three potential machine orders from molders in Puebla and Mexico City during the event.