PHILADELPHIA — French polyolefin film manufacturer Bollore Technologies Co. plans to build a plant in Connecticut, its first production plant in North America, in a bid to boost its position in the U.S. market.
The Paris-based company, which has $1 billion in shrink film sales worldwide, plans to open the 60,000-square-foot plant before the year 2000 and put in four to six extrusion machines by 2002, said Abel Pedrazzoli, product manager for shrink films for Bolmet Inc., the company's Dayville, Conn.-based U.S. subsidiary.
Now, Bolmet makes film in France and converts it at a 40,000-square-foot plant in Dayville. But the company needs to produce film in the United States to reassure distributors and because it would be increasingly difficult to manage inventory without local manufacturing, company officials said.
Pedrazzoli spoke at the EastPack trade show, held May 19-21 in Philadelphia.
Bolmet is aiming for the No. 3 spot in the U.S. shrink film market, behind Sealed Air Corp. and DuPont Co., up from the 3 or 4 percent of the market it has now, Pedrazzoli said. Each extrusion machine will produce 3 million pounds of film a year, and Pedrazzoli said the company may decide to put in 12 machines by 2002.
The U.S. shrink film market is about 300 million pounds a year, he said.
``It is difficult in the U.S. unless you convert here and manufacture here,'' Pedrazzoli said. ``It is very difficult to know the proper amount of film to keep in inventory.''
He also said the company's distributors in the United States need to have ``peace of mind that they will never run out of film.'' He said the company never has run out of film in North America and maintains an inventory of 3 million pounds.
By 2002, all of the film Bolmet sells in the United States will be produced at the new facility in Dayville, he said.
Bollore is one of the world's largest makers of film for electrical applications, and has about 45 percent of that market in the United States, the firm said. It began selling film in the U.S. market in 1992.
Bolmet also took another step about six months ago to strengthen its U.S. position. The company began putting its name on several film converting machines made by another company in California, allowing its distributors to sell converting machines with its film, Pedrazzoli said.
U.S. sales were hurt because its fragmented distribution network did not have expertise in one line of machines, he said. European distribution networks are much more centralized and do not have that problem, he said.
He declined to identify what company is making the machines for Bolmet, but said they include a shrink tunnel and a sealer.
Bollore has about $10 billion in annual sales and is in businesses ranging from growing tobacco to running cargo ships.