MEXICO CITY — Thermoformer Nutrigo SA de CV on Jan. 13 signed a contract to buy C$700,000 (US$483,000) worth of thermoforming equipment from G.N. Plastics Co. Ltd. of Chester, Nova Scotia.
``We have a long-term relationship with G.N. Plastics, and have been dealing with them for over eight years,'' said Nutrigo's general manager, Alejandro Biehl.
Biehl added that even though Nutrigo had not purchased machinery from G.N. Plastics during the previous year, the Nutrigo expansion is not so much an indication that the Mexican economy is recovering but rather is ``part of a company strategy to explore new markets and offer a greater variety of products.''
Nutrigo, which was established in 1986, makes thermoformed packaging from materials including oriented polystyrene, PET, PVC and PS.
The company is headquartered in Mexico City and has a plant in the nearby industrial city of Toluca.
Its products are widely available at some Mexico City supermarkets, for use in self-serve, prepared foods, and cookie packaging.
Biehl was reluctant to offer much information on how much capacity will be increased, or the level of sales for the 90-employee company, explaining that the thermoforming market in Mexico — made up of 15-20 companies — is extremely competitive.
Jerome Romkey, marketing manager for G.N. Plastics, said that firm has observed an increase in orders and interest from Mexican firms as the peso has stabilized during the past six months.
G.N. also sent a representative to PlastImagen '97 in Mexico
``We believe that it is time to jump back into the market,'' he said in a Jan. 13 interview in Mexico City.
He added that G.N. had been doing well in Mexico before the peso crisis hit in December 1994.
``We have five long-term clients,'' he said.
G.N. signed the deal with Nutrigo as part of a Canadian trade mission to Latin America. Romkey said G.N. participated in the trip to visit current and potential customers, and to hire a sales agent in Mexico. The firm selected Ekonorm SA de CV of Mexico City.
Romkey added that G.N. also signed Euromaq SA de CV as its agent in Santiago, Chile.
Nutrigo inked its deal with G.N. in a high-profile contract-signing ceremony with Mexico's President Ernesto Zedillo, and Canada's Governor-General Romero LeBlanc. Romkey said the deal had been set up in advance, and the equipment already is in Mexico and almost ready to begin production.
Northstar Trade Finance Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia, financed the deal. The company was formed to finance export sales of between C$5 million and C$100 million (US$3.45 million to US$69 million).
G.N. Plastics makes cut-in-place thermoformers, Romkey said.
``Our machines are compact, and the largest machine would be 10 feet long by 5 feet wide,'' he said.
The units are less expensive than in-line machines, which ``is an attraction for companies in developing countries,'' he said.
Since its establishment in 1980, G.N. Plastics always has exported the majority of its thermoforming equipment production.
The company now exports 95 percent of production to 40 countries from its headquarters in Nova Scotia.
The company also has produced equipment for its sister company, Chester Plastics (1975) Ltd., also of Chester.
Romkey added that G.N. Plastics considers Latin America and Eastern Europe growth markets for the firm, and he has a visit planned soon for India.