Anchor Packaging Inc. is expanding its global reach by buying film plants in South America, and said it will open a packaging facility in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The St. Louis firm bought Borden Chemical Co.'s PVC film operations in Cotia, Brazil, and San Juan, Argentina, as well as a headquarters facility in Buenos Aires. The plants were Borden's last film businesses. Terms of the June 30 deal were not disclosed.
Borden spokesman Pete Loscocco said the operations no longer fit the Columbus, Ohio, company's plan since its 1996 sale of most PVC film operations to AEP Industries Inc.
Anchor will invest more than $10 million in the South American plants, said Robert Vanderselt, Anchor president and chief executive officer. It will double PVC capacity and add sheet coextruders and thermoformers to make food packaging from polypropylene and styrenic resins. The PVC expansion will be done by mid-1999 and extrusion and thermoforming machinery is slated to be operating by late 1999, Vanderselt said in a telephone interview.
Anchor already is active in South America, shipping film and disposable food containers from its plants in Paragould and Marmaduke, Ark. That business and the former Borden operations now represent more than $25 million annually. Anchor estimates it supplies 85 percent of PVC food film used in Argentina, 55 percent in Chile, and 35 percent in Brazil.
Anchor expects to open its Russian plant in October. It will focus on sheet extrusion and thermoforming of food containers. Vanderselt said a sizable container market exists there in factory lunch programs. PVC film markets are undeveloped.
The firm said food packaging is growing rapidly in developing countries, where as much as 50 percent of food spoils before it reaches market.
U.S. consumers each spend about 85 cents annually on PVC food films, compared with 38 cents in Argentina and 17 cents in Brazil.
Anchor makes rigid and flexible food packaging and produces more than 500 products for supermarkets, hospitals, fast-food outlets, school lunch programs and food processors. It also manufactures in the United Kingdom and Australia. Vanderselt estimated sales at about $125 million.
Anchor Packaging is a unit of Hermann Cos.