Talk of a recession is rare in the offices of Matrixx Group, an Evansville, Ind.-based compounder and recycler that is completing an 80,000-square-foot expansion and planning to install a 20 million-pound-per-year capacity extrusion line.
The 5-year-old firm expects to see its annual sales total of $75 million to $100 million increase by 25 percent this year, according to Chief Operating Officer Keith Rodden.
In 2001, Matrixx pulled off the rare feat of posting 15 percent sales growth, even with its core business off by 17 percent. New business picked up the slack and provided the growth margin, Rodden said.
The $2.5 million expansion will be completed by midyear at the latest and will be used for manufacturing and warehousing. The project will nearly double the size of the 100,000-square-foot plant.
Matrixx does between 60-75 percent of its business in polypropylene-based compounds, with sizable sales in filled and flame-retardant grades. Automotive sales accounted for about 25 percent of Matrixx's business in 2001, with electrical/electronic sales not far behind at about 22 percent.
The new twin-screw compounding line, along with a similar-sized single-screw line installed in August, will focus on compounds made from engineering resins nylon, polycarbonate, polyester and ABS, as well as some flame-retardant PP.
The new line will be at one of Matrixx's three Evansville plants. The firm also runs plants in Nashville, Tenn., and Houston. In total, Matrixx operates 165 million pounds of compounding capacity and 60 million pounds of recycling capacity. The company employs 225.
Matrixx recently introduced 15 grades of new PET-based and polybutylene terephthalate-based compounds aimed at the electrical/electronic, consumer goods and automotive markets.
The firm also is setting its sights on international markets, expecting to announce an alliance with an Asian manufacturer by mid-year and seeking an equity position with a European partner. The Mexican market also is a target for Matrixx, via its Houston plant and distributors in the region.
On the home front, Matrixx expects to begin building a new plant in the mid-Atlantic region by early 2003. Rodden said Matrixx officials are still trying to decide between two potential sites for the new plant.
Rodden said he does not have an easy answer as to why Matrixx has exceeded the track records of larger compounders in the last year.
``We've kept our costs low and our product development capacity very strong. We've done a good job blocking and tackling,'' he said.