Graham Packaging Co. LP has agreed to invest in PlasPET Florida Ltd., a developer and blow molder of PET custom plastic containers. Terms were not disclosed.
PlasPET of Lakeland, Fla., focuses on the beverage, fruit drink and dairy markets, manufacturing unique shapes and sizes.
``Our investment will enable PlasPET to rapidly expand its niche market strategy for producing unique bottles and jars for premium refrigerated juices, milks and other beverages,'' Roger Prevot, senior vice president and general manager of Graham Packaging's food and beverage business unit, said in a news release. ``In particular, our partnership will enable PlasPET to establish more regional plant operations to serve this market.''
David Lilico, co-general manager of PlasPET, said his company is working to identify possible sites for regional plants. The plants would be very similar to the existing Lakeland facility, he said. PlasPET operates four Aoki single-stage PET blow molding machines and has ordered a fifth. The company employs 18 and has been in business for two years.
``Graham recognized the work we're doing in our niche markets,'' Lilico said in a telephone interview. ``Our relationship with them enables us to expand a lot faster and grow a lot faster.''
The companies began working out this deal more than six months ago, based on their common interest in highly customized PET, Prevot said. PlasPET will continue to be managed as a separate operation. In fact, Graham is extending the philosophy it employed when it developed its food and beverage unit.
``Graham has been successful growing businesses while they remain autonomous,'' he added. ``We allow new ventures to remain independent.''
``PlasPET's aggressive approach to innovation and product development in its niche market will lead to exciting new opportunities in the way Graham shapes its food and beverage strategy,'' Prevot said in a news release. ``In particular, PlasPET is involved extensively in developing new PET containers for extended-shelf-life refrigerated products for juice and premium dairy beverages.''
Graham operates 49 plants in 10 countries. Its food and beverage unit is the No. 1 supplier of plastic containers to the juice industry. The company placed No. 6 in Plastics News' North American blow molders ranking, with related sales of $440 million.