Cryovac Division of W.R. Grace & Co. plans a big push in fresh-cut produce packaging by acquiring Cypress Packaging Inc. of Rochester, N.Y. Cypress specializes in controlled-permeability film packaging for retail markets. It has five extrusion lines and annual sales of nearly $25 million, estimated David Fischer, chairman and chief executive officer.
Cryovac predicts North America's flexible packaging market for fresh-cut produce will triple over the next five years to about $100 million. Cypress has a strong position in the market, said J. Gary Kaenzig, a senior vice president of W.R. Grace & Co. and president of its packaging business.
The Cypress business dovetails with Cryovac's PD-900 family of controlled-permeability, fresh-produce films, which won a Flexible Packaging Association award this year, said Cryovac spokesman Chuck Jolley. It introduced most of the films in 1995.
Cryovac of Duncan, S.C., expects to complete the deal in the third quarter. Officials would not disclose terms.
Fischer and partner Jim Ririe bought the former money-losing Mink Co. bread-bag company in Rochester seven years ago and tapped their connections in California's produce industry to supply film for produce wrap. Four years ago they began concentrating on controlled-permeability films and recently received a U.S. patent for work begun then, Fischer said.
He claimed Cypress was one of the first companies to use Dow and Exxon metallocene-catalyzed polyethylene in film. Cypress uses various mono- and multilayer extrusions and laminates to control oxygen and carbon dioxide transmission, a key to keeping cut produce fresh. It uses metallocene-catalyzed PEs and Phillips 66 Co.'s styrene butadiene co-polymer as major components in its proprietary barrier resins, and various PEs and polypropylene for structural and appearance layers. Its constructions include glossy types and grades stiff enough for stand-up pouches.
The 80,000-square-foot Ro-chester facility includes reverse-printing capability.
Cryovac began experimenting with controlled-permeability produce films about four years ago and relies on multilayer constructions of various thicknesses to control gas transmission, said Jolley. Its PD-900 films generally are softer than those made by Cypress and are used to package salads, fruit and similar produce.
Fischer and Ririe plan to continue with Cypress after the acquisition, which the firms have been discussing since March.
Cryovac will help it reach a higher level of sales. Two other potential buyers also approached Cypress.
Cypress also sells to other markets, such as electronics, meat and foods, where controlled barrier is important.
Fischer was a special assistant to President Reagan and later was chief administrative officer at Huntsman Chemical Corp. of Salt Lake City. Ririe served in the Department of Defense and worked at Mobil Chemical Co. of Pittsford, N.Y., prior to joining Cypress.