Winpak Ltd. plans to become North America's second producer of biaxially oriented nylon film at a new facility near its head office in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Winpak announced the project at its annual meeting April 22 in Toronto. The company said it chose Japanese trading firm Nichimen Corp. as a partner. Winpak will own 51 percent of the joint venture.
The partners initially plan to spend C$25 million (US$17.5 million) on the plant and equipment. Winpak President J. Robert Lavery said in a telephone interview that the plant will be capable of making C$20 million (US$14 million) worth of film annually. He said officials were close to deciding on equipment suppliers but he did not reveal them.
Winpak plans to start operating the plant in the third quarter of 1999.
Winpak's parent company, Wihuri Oy of Helsinki, Finland, has had a biaxially oriented nylon film joint venture with Nichimen since 1995. Lavery said Nichimen will market most of the Winnipeg operation's output but Winpak also will consume some captively for food packaging.
Lavery said AlliedSignal Specialty Films is currently the only producer of biaxially oriented nylon film. AlliedSignal spokeswoman Patricia Menagh agreed and said her firm makes the film at its Pottsville, Pa., facility. She did not disclose AlliedSignal's capacity.
Lavery said nylon film has barrier and printability properties that make it useful for condiment packaging, form-fill-and-seal applications and similar uses. Nylon film also has burst strength and applications include balloons, industrial bags and pouches, Menagh added in an interview from AlliedSignal in Morristown, N.J.
Winpak reported sales of C$73.8 million (US$51.7 million) and profit of C$2.6 million (US$1.8 million) for three months ended March 31. It makes and distributes flexible packaging and packaging machinery. Nichimen, based in Tokyo, had sales of US$31.4 billion last year.