Bunzl Extrusion Inc. has reinforced its West Coast operations with the acquisition of Tacoma, Wash., profile extruder Davidson Plastics Corp. for an undisclosed sum. Meanwhile, the Richmond, Va.-based profile, sheet and specialty tube producer plans to open a plant in Monterrey, Mexico, in the second quarter. The plant will be Bunzl Extrusion's first operation outside the United States.
"Several of our major customers have moved to Mexico, and we have to be close to the customers," President Neil Drozeski said in a telephone interview. "There is definitely other business to be picked up in Mexico, with many worldwide companies down there."
Both of Bunzl's latest moves are part of its continuing program of expansion and upgrading of its extrusion facilities across North America.
Davidson has a prominent position in the highway, fence-slat and office-products markets. It runs 32 extrusion lines, has 160 employees and had 1999 sales of about $22 million.
Two years ago, Davidson consolidated its two plants and warehouse into a new, 105,000-square-foot facility in Tacoma at a cost of $6.5 million.
Drozeski said the market for highway products in parts of Washington state is significant, and Bunzl Extrusion also has expanded to meet greater demand in several of its market areas, including lighting, refrigeration and fencing.
The Tacoma firm becomes Bunzl's eighth custom profile extrusion company in the United States. Others are A&B Plastics Inc. in Union Gap, Wash.; A&B Plastics-Southwest Inc. of Phoenix; Duall Plastics Inc. of Athol, Mass.; Porth Plastic Co. in Des Plaines, Ill.; Southern Plastic Co. of Columbia, S.C.; Tri-Lite Plastics Inc. of Fallsington, Pa.; and Tri-Lite Plastics South Inc. of Pell City, Ala.
Bunzl Extrusion, formerly known as American Filtrona Corp., was purchased in 1997 by Bunzl plc of London. Bunzl Extrusion runs a total of 120 extrusion lines in North America and generated 1999 annual sales of more than $100 million, Drozeski said.
The Monterrey plant, Bunzl Extrusion de Mexico SA de CV, will start with as many as four Davis-Standard profile extrusion lines and employ 20-30. It initially will serve the lighting sector, but is expected to expand into other markets, Drozeski said.
In other news, Bunzl's Southern Plastics operation just expanded its warehouse area by 26,000 square feet, bringing the Columbia facility to a total of 168,000 square feet.
Next month, Tri-Lite Plastics is scheduled to transfer to a modern, 45,000-square-foot plant it bought, allowing for further expansion. The operation currently runs eight extrusion lines.
Drozeski said the purchase of Davidson enhances Bunzl's position as a leader in the fence-slat industry. Bunzl expanded its stake in the vinyl-fencing business last year when A&B Plastics acquired the Pioneer Plastics division of Plastics Resources Inc.
Bunzl moved that business from Pioneer's operation in Logan, Utah, to A&B's Union Gap plant.
Bunzl plc also extrudes plastics in Europe. In 1998 the parent company acquired Enitor BV of Friesland, the Netherlands, which extrudes plastics for signage and displays in supermarkets.