Vifan Canada Inc. will build a biaxially oriented polypropylene film plant in Morristown, Tenn., a company official said Aug. 6. It will spend about $60 million on the facility, which will be able to make 80 million to 85 million pounds per year of BOPP film when it starts up by spring 1998, said Angelo Vandoni, executive vice president of the Montreal firm.
His cost estimate includes a 260,000-square-foot building on 38 acres, a BOPP film line, and metalizing and internal recycling equipment.
Vifan announced an expansion last summer but did not reveal a location. Vandoni said the firm had been thinking of a new line at its Montreal plant, but it decided instead on Tennessee, which delayed the project six months. The firm made the initial announcement a year ago to assure customers of long-term supply.
Vandoni said the Morristown plant will produce a range of film grades. He did not disclose major equipment suppliers, but claimed the new line will be one of the fastest in the world. The company said it currently has some Brckner manufacturing lines.
Although BOPP film competitors also are beefing up their capacity, Vifan officials believe demand is growing fast enough in packaging and other markets to accommodate Morristown's output.
``We're not concerned with other suppliers expanding,'' Vandoni said.
Mobil Chemical Co.'s Films Division in Pittsford, N.Y., and Applied Extrusion Technologies Inc. of Peabody, Mass., are among producers expanding BOPP film capacity.
Vandoni said Vifan Canada's parent, Vibac Finanziara SpA of Alessandria, Italy, also is expanding capacity and will start a new line in Potenza, Italy, six months before Morristown begins production.
Morristown, which will be Vifan's and Vibac's first U.S. facility, was chosen partly because many of the firm's customers are in a thousand-mile radius of the site.
Local and state incentives for training, taxes and other costs also made Morristown attractive, Vandoni said in a telephone interview. The operation initially will employ about 100.
Vifan's Montreal plant has 55 million pounds of annual BOPP capacity. It expects to continue shipping to U.S. customers, and Morristown may partake in Canadian markets.
A sister company, Vibac Tape Corp. of Montreal, buys BOPP film to make carton sealing tape.
Vifan reported 1995 sales of about C$70 million (US$51 million) and employs 120.