CHICAGO — Custom thermoformers Printing Press Inc. and Complete Packaging Systems have merged, and are expanding their Yakima, Wash., plant and adding processing machines.
Owners of both companies will have shares in the combined firm, now called PPi. But executives from the former Printing Press Inc., based in Union Gap, Wash., will run the company because it was the larger firm before the merger, said Lowell Romfo, thermoforming plant manager in Yakima.
Romfo, who is also one of the owners, spoke during an interview at the Pack Expo 98 show in Chicago, held Nov. 8-12. The companies both make blister packs, clamshells and trays, as wells as print blister cards and insert cards.
Printing Press runs a printing plant in Union Gap.
Printing Press wanted to expand into Southern California — where Complete had its only plant in South El Monte — while Complete needed the money and high-speed production of its larger partner, Romfo said.
Printing Press said it has invested $6 million in its Yakima plant and equipment since 1994, and was seeing growth in Southern California at three times the rate of elsewhere.
``Complete Packaging is experiencing rapid growth and this merger will provide a release valve for Complete Packaging's excess orders while using some of Printing Press' excess capacity,'' said Steve Mattis, a former owner of Complete and now sales manager of PPi.
Much of Printing Press' growth is coming from making packaging for products bound for large retailers like Wal-Mart, but it also is picking up some packaging business that has moved back to the United States from the Far East, Romfo said.
PPi will be headed by President Bruce Romfo, Lowell's brother.
Printing Press, which employs 70, expects sales of about $11 million this year. Complete, also with 70 employees, expects sales of about $6 million.
Printing Press had been more profitable because it has larger, higher-speed thermoformers, Lowell Romfo said.
The companies plan to add 30,000 square feet of thermoforming space to their 52,000-square-foot plant in Yakima, giving them enough room for three more thermoformers and boosting their total to 13. That should be completed by August, Romfo said.
The company also is looking at property to expand the South El Monte plant, and will add equipment there, he said.
The merger was completed in June.