Beverage supplier Vivant Group Inc. plans to enter PET bottle preform production in Calgary, Alberta, early next year. Vivant announced Aug. 12 that it bought Petco Manufacturing Inc., a company founded four months ago to develop and make PET preforms and containers. Petco was started by Dan Keeley, who has experience in preforms and bottle production, and a silent investor.
Keeley, Petco's president, said the firm will make large preforms for undisclosed container applications on four 500-ton presses in a 20,000-square-foot facility.
``They are not a standard preform [for beverage bottles], they weigh about four times more,'' Keeley said in a telephone interview from Vivant's head office in Calgary.
He said the company has not chosen an injection molding machine supplier.
Petco also plans to injection mold inverted carriers for six-packs of bottled water and soft drinks. It will start the program early next year on a 100-ton press.
Petco wants to blow mold containers in a separate facility by mid-1997, Keeley said. He did not disclose the cost of the preform program or other plans.
Keeley founded Mission Plastics Ltd. in Kelowna, British Columbia, in 1981. He moved the business to Calgary in 1986 hoping to capture injection molding contracts from Northern Telecom Ltd.'s communications products plant there. Mission Plastics was unsuccessful in that pursuit, so Keeley diversified the firm into bottles in 1989.
He sold his company in 1992 because of financial difficulties. It is now called Mission Packaging Ltd. and is owned by Alberta Mining, a Calgary-based family trust, according to Geoff Roe, Mission Packaging's director of new business development.
Mission Packaging closed its Portland, Ore., plant in February when major customers moved operations to the eastern United States, Roe said in a telephone interview. Mission Packaging mainly custom blow molds PET bottles for vegetable oil, liquor and other markets at its Calgary facility.
Keeley said that after he sold Mission Plastics, he worked as a PET container consultant on offshore projects because of a noncompete clause effective in Canada.
Vivant markets spring water and other beverages and liquid food products in North America and other countries. It also owns trademarks for a variety of beverages. Keeley said Petco eventually hopes to supply Vivant's plastic bottle needs, but it will go after the overall beverage bottle market dominated in Canada by Twinpak Inc. of Montreal.
Vivant targets Petco's sales at C$8 million (US$5.84 million) in its first year of operation. Vivant trades on the Alberta Stock Exchange.