CHICAGO — Lati USA Inc. plans to invest $50 million in a new U.S. compounding operation that will specialize in flame-retardant and highly filled materials, the company announced at NPE in Chicago.
Recently formed Lati USA plans to acquire a 20-acre site in the Charleston, S.C., area and start commercial production by the end of 1999, said President Gregory Newby. It will be able to compound 40 million pounds per year. He said it was too early to discuss equipment details.
Newby said his firm's parent firm, Lati SpA of Milan, Italy, supplied compounds to U.S. customers for about five years before it set up Lati USA in September.
The Mount Pleasant, S.C., subsidiary has been handling U.S. sales since then. He did not disclose U.S. sales, but estimated Lati's global sales at more than $100 million.
Lati USA will make injection molding compounds mainly for electrical, electronic, automotive and appliance industries.
Newby said Lati decided to make compounds in North America because its customers are expanding globally.
He declined to detail how much state financial support the project will get until South Carolina issues its announcements.
Lati USA was short listing potential plant sites in the week before NPE, but had not made a decision. Newby said Lati plans to erect a 150,000-square-foot plant that it will expand later to 270,000 square feet. Lati USA's current Mount Pleasant office is about 6 miles from Charleston. Lati SpA started a new compounding plant, its second, near Milan two years ago.
Newby said the compounding business is Lati's oldest and biggest, but Lati is a diverse company with interests in packaging, computers, communications and other markets.