RPC Group plc is reorganizing its operations on the European continent, adding capacity at two plants.
Raunds, England-based RPC earlier this year became Europe's top rigid plastic packaging producer, through its huge acquisition of Continental Plastics Europe, formerly Schmalbach-Lubeca AG's non-PET bottle business.
RPC is adding new capacity for multilayer bottles and jars at its Corby, England, plant and at a CPE plant in Oevel, Belgium.
The Corby thermoforming and coextrusion blow molding plant has exported as much as 30 percent of its multilayer bottles to mainland European customers, including in Sweden and the Netherlands, said Bill Emmerson, administration director.
Demand for multilayer high density polyethylene and polypropylene bottles for hot-fill and oxygen-sensitive applications has been growing rapidly in Europe.
The Oevel plant historically has produced small quantities of multilayer containers. RPC now plans to install a coextrusion machine for making 4-liter bottles at Oevel, Emmerson said.
The company also plans to add a coextrusion machine for bottles in Corby. The firm adapts Hounsell Wheel rotary machines with the addition of Bekum co-extrusion heads, Emmerson said.
The new investment is estimated at about £2 million ($3.34 million) and both machines are to be installed before the end of the current financial year in March.
RPC also announced it needs to make additional investment at the Corby plant to meet extra demand for thermoformed packaging. The plant, running for only a little more than a year, already has outgrown its building space.
``Thermoforming at Corby will need additional investment to exploit the innovative technology introduced to RPC by the Bebo [Germany] operation from CPE,'' said Ron Marsh, RPC chief executive officer.
The Bebo Plastik plant in BremervÃ¶rde developed a tamper-proof PP reclosable lidding system.
RPC plans to add a 35,000-square-foot warehouse in Corby, freeing up space for production. The company expects to spend about £3 million ($5 million) on the project, which probably will include a PP sheet extruder, thermoforming equipment and decoration machinery.
RPC paid $103.5 million in January for the CPE operations, which include 12 plants in six countries.
RPC recently reported soaring pretax profit, up 21 percent to £10.5 million ($17.5 million) with sales up 35 percent to £129.3 million ($216 million).