BIP Group of Oldbury, England, is going global with its Chem Polymer brand.
The firm now will use the name originated by engineering resin compounder Chem Polymer Corp. of Fort Myers, Fla., for its compounding units in Oldbury and Cinderford, England. The Oldbury plant had operated as ETP Ltd., while the Cinderford site had done business as BIP Plastex Ltd.
The change is intended to accommodate globalization in the automotive and electrical/electronics sectors, which are BIP's two largest compounding end markets, BIP Chairman Keith Sansom said in a news release.
``A single strategy needs reinforcing with a single brand name,'' said the British plants' manager, Mark Timmins.
BIP's thermoset plant in Mexico City will continue to operate as BIP Mexico.
Chem Polymer runs seven extrusion lines in Fort Myers. The firm plans to add a high-torque, twin-screw supercompounding line, Chem Polymer President Evan DeWulf said by telephone.
The Oldbury plant runs five extrusion lines, with Cinderford running three. There are no plans to add capacity at those sites.
In 2003, sales growth should allow Chem Polymer to add as many as seven jobs in Fort Myers, DeWulf said. Global sales for 2003 are expected to hit $60 million.
``We're seeing tremendous success in the automotive sector right now,'' he said. ``There's a lot of pressure from [original equipment manufacturers], but our niche is in providing competitive material and the market has responded. I'd be surprised if we don't grow 20 percent in the U.S. this year.''
Compounds based on nylon 6 and 6/6 make up about 90 percent of Chem Polymer's global compounding mix. Of that 90 percent, about three-quarters is sold into automotive uses. Chem Polymers' non-nylon sales are made up of acetal, polybutylene terephthalate and other engineering resins.
In the past two years, Chem Polymer has added compounds based on nylon 6/10 and 6/12. It plans to introduce nylon 12 compounds later this year.
Chem Polymer, the largest single BIP unit, had sales of $100 million in 2002.