Schmalbach-Lubeca AG acquired Medellin, Colombia-based PET bottle maker Volcan SA in December, making it the third such acquisition in Latin America in the last 13 months.
Schmalbach-Lubeca, of Ratingen, Germany, has been on a crusade for the last three years to reorganize its portfolio of products, selling its non-PET plastics division and buying PET blow molding firms around the world.
``It gives us a presence there. Latin America is a growing market. We started out with a base of two plants and have expanded that to seven,'' said Shelly Steele, marketing director for Schmalbach-Lubeca's U.S. operations in Manchester, Mich.
Volcan makes both injection molded preforms and finished PET bottles, Steele said. She did not have details about the company's equipment.
Terms of the deal, which was announced Feb. 1, were not disclosed. Schmalbach bought the company with Petco International, its Miami-based marketing arm for Latin America.
Though the United States has converted a big chunk of the glass bottle market to PET, Latin American countries are just beginning that switch, she said.
Schmalbach claims Volcan is Colombia's largest PET blow molder, with an established presence in Latin America through its production of packaging for the soft drink, water, liquor, pharmaceutical and agrichemical industries, Steele said.
Volcan's plant will add 130 employees to the Schmalbach-Lubeca payroll. Schmalbach-Lubeca will maintain Volcan's business with its suppliers, she said.
Schmalbach-Lubeca, which supplies beverage cans, PET containers and White Cap closures, reported 1997 sales of $2.5 billion. Volcan currently sells about 500 million bottles per year.
In January, 1998, Schmalbach-Lubeca acquired Brazilian PET packager Braspet. By September, it announced a joint-venture in Lima, Peru, with Petco International and Filamentos Industriales SA named Schmalbach-Lubeca PC Del Peru SA.