BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA — An Argentine injection molder plans to set up a $4.5 million plant in Brazil, taking advantage of the Mercosul trade pact.
Buenos Aires-based Conarsa-Contenedores Argentinos SA plans to launch an affiliate in Brazil later this year.
Conarsa focuses on the production of high density polyethylene cargo transportation items — such as large-sized bins and pallets — in two facilities in Argentina: one in Neuquen and the other in San Luis.
``Basically, we identify the opportunity of manufacturing these products also in Brazil, since no other company makes the same line there,'' Conarsa President Hector Mendez said in an interview during the Argenplas show, held April 2-8 in Buenos Aires.
Conarsa plans to set up a plant in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, in a city yet to be determined.
``The plant will probably be located in Caxias do Sul, where we have identified a good area,'' said Mendez, who also is president of Argentina's plastics processors' association, Camara Argentina de la Industria Plastica, and of the Asociacion Latinamerica de la Industria Plastica.
Conarsa already has purchased two Mir presses for the new unit and is preparing to buy a 400-ton machine. Its two existing presses have clamping forces of 1,000 and 4,500 tons.
The Brazilian facility is being prepared to process 8.8 million to 9.9 million pounds of resin per year into 120,000 containers with capacities of 180 gallons or more.
``The plan is to start manufacturing bins for transporting harvested apples in the region and, later on, expand the product portfolio by introducing pallets and trash bins,'' Mendez said.
In Argentina, Conarsa is 75 percent controlled by a group of local investors, while bin processor Jcoplastic srl, based in Battipaglia, Italy, holds the remaining 25 percent share.
In Brazil, the Argentine investors will own 30 percent, and Jcoplastic will own 30 percent. The remainder will be owned by a Brazilian partner that Mendez would not identify.
This will be the same shareholding composition for the company's second plant in Brazil, planned for the state of SÃo Paulo in 1999, Mendez said.
``In this case, the target markets will be the orange and trash transportation sectors,'' he added.
Conarsa's Neuquen and San Luis plants each cost about $6 million, and they have combined capacity to process about 17.6 million pounds of resin annually.
The Neuquen facility began operating in 1994 and is equipped with two Triulzi injection molding machines, with 4,500 and 400 tons of clamping force. That plant makes large bins weighing more than 77 pounds.
The San Luis unit was launched in December and runs four Triulzi injection molding machines with clamping forces of 800-3,500 tons. The plant manufactures pallets and bins with capacities of about 13-290 gallons, for applications including trash, fruit or auto part transportation.
Conarsa registered roughly $7 million in sales last year.