Food and medical packaging maker Dolphin Packaging plc has expanded its thermoforming capacity in Ireland with the purchase of two thermoforming lines from Boxmore International plc.
In addition, Poole, England-based Dolphin boosted capacity at decorative display packaging subsidiary Kelder Plastibox BV of 's-Heerenberg, the Netherlands. Kelder received PET box and drum converting operations from Sicht-Pack Hagner GmbH of Stuttgart, Germany, for £1.6 million ($2.6 million).
Dolphin bought machinery and related business from Belfast, Northern Ireland-based Boxmore Healthcare Packaging (Ireland) for £225,000 ($364,500). Dolphin moved the business to its thermoformed produce tray subsidiary Dolphin Packaging Ltd. in Greenore, Ireland.
The Greenore plant lost business last year due to strong competition and bad weather, which depressed market demand, said Dolphin Chief Executive Officer David Marsh.
``We believe that Greenore can once again revert to a growth phase thanks to the introduction of machinery to manufacture trays for the fast-expanding protein-food suppliers based in Ireland,'' Marsh said in the company's annual report.
He added that the company plans a new clean room for the Greenore plant.
Boxmore decided to drop thermoforming for health-care customers when it transferred converting operations from its Belfast plant to a new, 120,000-square-foot facility in nearby Mallusk, where the company just moved its headquarters.
Stephen Elliott, Boxmore finance director, said his company could not compete with bigger packaging producers that extrude their own sheet, while ``we were just banging sheets.''
Meanwhile, Dolphin's Kelder box operation performed below the rest of the group in 1997, the firm reported, in the face of tough competition from German producers. The unit also was hit by the adverse effects of translating profits into Britain's strong currency.
Marsh said the Hagner operations will add about £2 million ($3.24 million) in sales.
``This extra capacity and order book should help transform the prospects of Kelder at a time when suppliers in the fabricated plastic container market are gradually consolidating,'' he said.