Sealed Air Corp.'s Cryovac Division already is a major Latin American manufacturer of film for meat and poultry, and now the U.S. packaging giant has expanded into foamed meat trays by purchasing a Brazilian company. William Hickey, president and chief executive officer of Sealed Air, said the acquisition of Menegotti Industrial Ltda. gives the firm its first meat-tray production in Latin America. Menegotti extrudes foamed polystyrene sheet, then thermoforms it into trays.
Menegotti has changed its name to Cryovac Embalagens Ltda. It will operate under Sao Paulo-based Cryovac Brasil Ltda.
About 120 people work at the factory in Jaragua do Sul, in the center of Brazil's beef and poultry processing industry in the state of Santa Catarina.
Menegotti family members decided to sell the plastics plant to focus on their other textile business, according to Joao Batista Rodrigues Aloe, administrative director for Cryovac Brasil.
Aloe said the 91,000-square-foot plant runs two extrusion and two thermoforming lines. Its trays are used to package meat and cold cuts, poultry, vegetables, pizza and frozen foods.
Many of those foam trays will end up covered with Cryovac film. Hickey said the firm makes film in Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Venezuela. But he said the Menegotti factory mainly will serve Brazil, by far the largest country in Latin America.
"It complements our product line and lets us supply our customers in Brazil with the whole case-ready [meat] solution," Hickey said in a March 9 telephone interview from Sealed Air headquarters in Saddle Brook, N.J.
Food packaging has grown explosively in Brazil, which consumed 12.6 million pounds of foamed trays in 1998, according to the Sao Paulo consulting firm Datamark Ltda.
In recent years, millions of Brazil's poor people have moved up the consumer class, as the government has stabilized the economy and brought inflation under control. Better food is one of the first things they buy.
"We should continue putting efforts in the food industry, which is Cryovac's core business," Aloe said.
Consultant Anthony Giovannone helped set up the deal. Giovannone, the former president of Sencorp Systems Inc., left the machinery manufacturer last year. He now runs the Cape Cod firm, Agio Inc. in Osterville, Mass.
The deal closed Feb. 29. Terms were not disclosed.
For Hickey, the Menegotti acquisition kicks off his term as the top Sealed Air executive. Hickey became president and CEO on March 1, replacing long-time CEO T.J. Dermot Dunphy.
Dunphy retired as CEO, but remains as chairman of the board.