Chemical specialties supplier Clariant International Ltd. of Muttenz, Switzerland, is increasing its production capacity for masterbatches in South America.
The firm is adding three extrusion lines at its industrial sites in Sao Paulo; Bogota, Colombia; and Maracay, Venezuela. Total investment amounts to $2 million, including the acquisition of auxiliary machinery.
``The plastics business has grown significantly in the region over the past four years, which has led us to invest in one or two new machines per year lately,'' said Walter Esmerelles, responsible for the marketing of Clariant's masterbatches division in Latin America.
As part of Clariant's growth strategy for the region, the company also is hiring management-level people to reinforce its technical staff and sales team, and is seeking new business opportunities that complement its portfolio, Esmerelles said.
During Brasilplast 2003, Clariant closed two agreements aimed at taking advantage of its distribution network in Latin America and selling third-party products: one with Deltacolor SA of Barcelona, Spain, for commercializing masterbatches for PVC, and another with Multibase SA of Saint-Laurent-du-Pont, France, for selling the company's silicone masterbatches.
Multibase is part of Dow Corning Co.
Esmerelles would not reveal details about Clariant's production capacity of materbatches in Latin America or the three new extrusion lines, but said that their outputs are similar.
He said that the company allocates its production capacity according to global sales and that it varies considerably depending on product mix.
One of the new extrusion lines to be installed in Sao Paulo was exhibited in the machinery manufacturer's booth at Brasilplast 2003, held March 10-14 in Sao Paulo: a Coperion Werner & Pfleiderer twin-screw model from the ZSK Megavolume series.
The machinery will begin operating in April and mainly will fulfill tailor-made orders, said Vanessa Heuser, Clariant's global/key accounts representative in Latin America.
The new extrusion lines in Colombia and Venezuela started operating in February.