J-M Manufacturing co. Inc., a leading PVC pipe manufacturer and subsidiary of Formosa Plastics USA, recently purchased 40 Battenfeld extrusion lines for an undisclosed amount.
Although J-M officials remain tight-lipped, industry sources have confirmed the deal, which J-M President Walter Wang announced during an event at K-98 in Dusseldorf, Germany, in late October.
Sources speculate that some of the extruders may be going to a huge plant that J-M is building in Adel, Ga., but most say it is likely the Taiwanese-owned firm is merely upgrading machinery in its 13 existing U.S. plants.
"They are continually upgrading their plants," said Raymound H. Lear, regional sales manager for Hughes supply Inc. in Greenville, Ohio, a major distributor of J-M products. "They probably do more upgrading of their plants than anyone in the PVC pipe industry," said Lear, who stressed that he was not aware of the specifics regarding the recent equipment purchase.
The new, 250,000 square-foot plant on a 200-acre site in southern Georgia involved an investment of some $25 million, J-M said when it announced the expansion in March 1997. The plant is nearing completion, but J-M has declined to provide any further details.
J-M operates 13 plants in 10 states.
The company ranks No. 3 amoung North American pipe, profile and tubing extruders, according to a Plastics News survey, with related sales of $424 million in 1997.
Prior to the recent purchase, J-M said it operated 140 extrusion lines in North Anmerica and employed 1,050 in its pipe-making operations.