Portola Packaging Inc. is branching out into PET bottles and blow mold tooling through two recent deals.
Portola formed a joint venture with Mexico City-based blow molder Kimex SA de CV to make 5-gallon PET water bottles.
The venture, Sterling Containers LLC, is based in New Castle, Pa. Manufacturing has begun at two Portola plants, in Kingsport, Tenn., and Chino, Calif. A plant in Clifton Park, N.Y., will begin blow molding the containers May 1.
Each of the plants operates one blow molding machine.
``Kimex is the predominant PET bottle and preform manufacturer in Mexico,'' Roth Herrlinger, product line manager at Portola, said in a telephone interview. ``We form polyethylene and polycarbonate bottles in Mexico and with our closure and equipment capabilities, the 5-gallon PET container filled out our offering of cap, bottle and equipment.''
He noted that PET is less expensive and lighter than polycarbonate.
``PET represents an important new technology in the market,'' Herrlinger said. ``It is less expensive to the customer while providing equal or better performance than PC. This is a real logical direction to go. I think the market will swing strongly to the PET market [for 5-gallon containers].''
Portola, a publicly held company based in San Jose, Calif., on March 31 acquired Allied Tool Inc. of Michigan Center, Mich., for an undisclosed amount of cash and assumed liabilities.
Allied is a supplier of blow mold tooling and machine parts for the plastic bottle industry. The company serves customers producing PE bottles for the dairy, juice, chemical and bottled water markets. Most of Allied's 600 customers use Portola's plastic closures.
``This improves our ability to serve our current dairy customers and we can offer tools for their machines while visiting customers,'' Taja Ruddy, spokeswoman for Portola, said in a telephone interview.
The new division, Portola Allied Tool Inc., will supply Portola's blow molding plants around the world, as well as internal demands for neck finish tooling. It also will continue to serve Allied's existing customers.
Portola reported annual sales of about $180 million.