Anchor Packaging Inc. is spending about $22 million to expand sheet extrusion and thermoforming capacity at its Paragould, Ark., plant.
Anchor President and Chief Executive Officer Robert Vanderselt said his firm's growth in prepared-foods packaging is spurring the expansion. Delicatessen and meat products sold mainly through supermarkets are key growth areas, he said in a telephone interview. Paragould's major customers are food processors that supply supermarkets.
Anchor will add 180,000 square feet at Paragould, bringing the operation's total space to about 400,000 square feet when the two-stage expansion is complete by the end of 2000. Vanderselt said the company will add enough extrusion lines to bring sheet production capacity to about 30 million pounds per year. New thermoforming equipment will allow Anchor to form that amount of sheet into packaging. Vanderselt said the program also includes adding converting equipment.
Vanderselt said Paragould's growth is a result of moving the recently purchased BonFaire operation to Paragould, as well as broad-based sales increases. Anchor bought the Madison, Wis.-based BonFaire division of Placon Corp. last summer. Paragould makes barrier and nonbarrier packaging for supermarkets, food processors and the food-service industry.
St. Louis-based Anchor's growth overseas continues, Vanderselt said. The firm recently more than doubled flexible PVC packaging film capacity at operations in Brazil and Argentina that it purchased from Borden Chemical Co. last year. Anchor will add rigid polypropylene barrier packaging capacity in South America within a year, he said. It also is considering expanding a Luton, England, plant.
Anchor opened a small extrusion and thermoforming operation in St. Petersburg, Russia, last fall and might expand it as well.
Vanderselt said the company is ``proceeding cautiously'' in Russia, because of uncertainty in the country's currency and economic outlook and potential changes in Russian government.
The St. Petersburg plant is making cups and lids and importing packaging.