CHICAGO (June 21, 3:25 p.m. EDT) — Engineering resins compounder LNP Engineering Plastics (Booth E10864) has its sights set on Mexico.
The Exton, Pa.-based firm wants to build a 60,000-square-foot plant in San Luis Potosí to serve business machine customers with operations in Mexico, as well as its growing customer base in the United States.
"Mexico is the next place we´ll go, it´s just a matter of when," LNP Americas President Richard Burns said.
"We´re looking at it as our fourth North American plant, not as a plant for the Mexican market," LNP Chief Executive Officer Robert Schulz added.
The new plant is needed because LNP´s three North American plants — in Thorndale, Pa.; Columbus, Ind.; and Santa Ana, Calif. — will be tapped out of physical space after the Thorndale site gets two new lines this month. Columbus received an additional line earlier this year.
"Our plants are about as big as we want them to be," Schulz said. "Because we do a lot of small-lot work, it becomes difficult from a logistics standpoint to get too big."
LNP runs 15 lines in Thorndale, nine in Columbus and eight in Santa Ana.
Plans for the Mexican plant were approved by LNP´s board of directors earlier this month. The plans still need to be approved by Kawasaki-LNP Inc., LNP´s Tokyo-based parent company, which will review the proposal later this summer.
The new plant would open with four lines and would produce a majority of LNP´s lineup of compounds based on polycarbonate, ABS, nylon and other engineering resins.
Burns estimated the cost of the new plant at $10 million.
The San Luis Potosí location is ideal since it´s roughly equidistant from LNP customers in Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterey, officials said.
"We´ve been getting requests from our customers to commit resources to that region," Schultz said.
LNP posted sales of more than $250 million in 1999, ranking among the 25 largest compounders in the United States with a market share of almost 3 percent, according to industry estimates. Schulz said the firm anticipates double-digit sales growth in 2000.