Just days after announcing five international projects, officials at Ampacet Corp. (Booth S2903) confirmed that the color concentrate maker plans to open a manufacturing site in China by late 2005 or early 2006.
The plant is expected to be near Shanghai, where Ampacet recently opened a sales office, Ampacet President and Chief Executive Officer Robert DeFalco said June 24 at NPE 2003.
``We've been selling into China for years,'' he said. ``But you really need to have a local presence.''
Word of the China plant comes on the heels of Ampacet's pending acquisitions of color concentrate makers in Italy, England and Brazil; and of expansions of existing sites in Canada and Thailand. All five moves were announced June 21 at NPE 2003.
Ampacet's buys of Polimaster srl in Busto Garolfo, Italy; PolyColour Ltd. in Telford, England; and Corland of Camicari, Brazil, appear to be examples of ``buying on the dip,'' given the sluggish state of the global economy.
``We do have some history of doing things like that,'' DeFalco said, pointing out that the firm entered Thailand under similar conditions.
``We believe in finding opportunities when things might not be going so good,'' he added. ``We have a strategy that expands well into the future. We're not a public company, so we don't have to look to results for the next quarter. Having only a single owner in Norman Alexander, we can take a long-term approach.''
DeFalco declined to offer sales estimates or employee counts for the three firms to be acquired. But he offered some detail on those moves and the site expansions.
The Italian and English firms produce specialty color concentrates for the blow molding and injection molding markets. Ampacet has been working to expand into those markets and grow beyond its traditional base in film. Increasing its profile in color also is a priority.
``I'm tired of people saying we're only in black and white,'' DeFalco said. ``We've been in color for years.''
The Brazilian firm primarily produces commodity-grade white concentrates, DeFalco said.
In Canada, Ampacet will move from its Delta, British Columbia, site to a larger, 60,000-square-foot site in that same city. The firm also will install a pair of new extrusion lines in Delta to support color concentrate work in injection molding and blow molding.
In Thailand, a 30,000-square-foot warehousing and manufacturing space expansion will allow Ampacet to do more color concentrate work in film, blow molding and injection molding. The site had been focused on making product for the biaxially oriented polypropylene film market.
The Thai project will create 30-50 jobs. DeFalco said he was unsure how many new jobs would result from the Canadian effort. He declined to say how much Ampacet was spending on the expansions and acquisitions.
At NPE 2003, Ampacet was focusing on several new programs and products, including its Total Bottle Cost Reduction program.
The TBCR program, launched in mid-2002, is designed to help molders and consumer packagers reduce cost, decrease time to market and improve sales of packaged consumer brands. Ampacet can suggest alternate multilayer designs or layer materials to make this happen.
``If a customer is using a masterbatch on a bottle, we can demonstrate how much they can save with a multilayer by using a less expensive material in the middle layer while keeping the properties and aesthetics of the outer layer,'' DeFalco said.
Ampacet, which ranks as one of North America's largest color concentrate makers, posted sales of just over $500 million in 2002, and is on track to grow at a 3 percent rate in 2003, DeFalco said.