Asahi/America Inc. will enter the corrugated pipe market by building a new facility in Magnolia, Ark., the firm announced Sept. 16.
Leslie Lewis said the 20,000-square-foot facility will begin making 36-inch-diameter pipe in the first quarter of 1998 and eventually will boost its capability to 60-inch pipe. The project will cost nearly $7 million and include two extruders supplied by Processing Technologies Inc. of St. Charles, Ill., and Unicor corrugating equipment from Germany.
Lewis said corrugated high density polyethylene pipe for water, sewer and drain applications will complement Asahi/ America's core business of dual-containment pipe, valves, actuators, controls and similar equipment based on thermoplastics. He said production of the pipe will help his firm achieve a 50:50 split between manufacturing and distributed products by 2000, when the company aims to do $100 million in sales.
Asahi/America manufactured products will account for about a third of the company's 1997 sales, estimated at more than $40 million. Magnolia's first two extrusion lines will be able to make about 12 million pounds per year of corrugated pipe, Lewis said in a telephone interview from his Malden, Mass., office. Asahi/America also plans to set up another corrugated pipe plant in North America but Lewis could provide no details.
The Arkansas Development Finance Authority will help finance about 80 percent of construction and equipment costs at Magnolia, where Asahi/America has 8 acres of land.
Lewis said the new corrugated operation will not affect Asahi/ America's distribution agreements with Agru-America Inc. and other pipe producers.
Lewis also said his firm's patent dispute with MFRI Inc. over double-containment pipe will go to trial Dec. 8 in New York. Asahi/America was unsuccessful getting an injunction to prevent MFRI of Niles, Ill., and associated companies from making and selling such pipe used for underground transport of dangerous materials.