Flambeau Corp. has taken advantage of the division sell-off of a large French processor by purchasing two blow molding machines for its Ramsgate, England, plant.
Baraboo, Wis.-based Flambeau bought the single-shuttle machines from plastic-container producer Sotralentz SA of Drulingen, France. Sotralentz decided to stop making blow molded cases, a noncore business for the boiler and plastic drum supplier.
Flambeau, a large maker of blow molded cases in the United States, eventually wants to start similar production at its one European plant, said President Bill Flint in an Aug. 15 telephone interview. Flambeau's parent company Nordic Group of Co. Ltd., purchased the Ramsgate plant in late 1999 from Blowspeed Ltd.
``In Europe, we plan to make cases mainly for power and hand tools, medical kits and promotional items,'' Flint said.
The 137,000-square-foot Ramsgate plant now has 21 blow molding machines and about 26 injection presses, said Paresh Shah, director of business development for the European division, Flambeau EuroPlast Ltd. The plant also purchased a suction blow molding machine earlier this year to make three-dimensional automotive parts.
The acquisition, terms of which were not announced, includes auxiliary blow molding equipment, tooling and order lists for Sotralentz's case customers.
Flambeau also has expanded its Saltillo, Mexico, plant by adding two twin-shuttle blow molding machines, Flint said. The company now has eight blow molding presses at the plant, primarily for automotive work.
The molder plans to add its first injection presses at the Saltillo facility by the end of the year to tackle some nonautomotive projects, Flint said.
Although final figures are being tallied, Flambeau recorded about $160 million in sales for its 2001 fiscal year, which ended June 30, Flint said. Sales next year are expected to grow about 2-3 percent, he added.
Although sales for many processors remain slow, equipment can be purchased for a lower price during soft economic times, Flint said. The company's strategy will be to continue its equipment expansion.
``Plastics companies that can hold their own will see a lot of equipment for sale right now,'' Flint said. ``We're in a position to grow there.''