Bulk Molding Compounds Inc. is moving into the Asian market through a 50-50 joint venture with Emei Group of Hong Kong.
The venture, BMC Far East Ltd., initially will make thermoset molding compounds at an Emei plant in Dongguan, China, before opening a separate, 30,000-square-foot facility there later this year. The new plant will employ 25.
The deal is the third in four years for West Chicago, Ill.-based BMCI, joining its 2002 purchase of a majority stake in Tetradur GmbH of Seevetal Germany, and its 2003 buy of a portion of Glastic Corp. of Cleveland.
>From 2001-04, BMCI had licensed a pair of Chinese firms to make its products as BMC Asia Pacific Ltd. But that agreement expired in mid-2004, leaving BMCI to look elsewhere for a presence in the region.
``We've learned much about the marketplace and business culture in China over the past four years,'' Executive Vice President Joe Carfora said in a news release. ``Two additional things became very clear in time: the need for ownership involvement and having at least one person from our key staff working in the operation.''
BMCI technical services manager Jack Horner has been promoted to operations director for BMC Far East. BMCI currently does about $500,000 in sales in Asia each year, but expects that amount to increase to almost $1 million in 2005, Carfora said in a recent telephone interview.
BMCI employs 300 and operates plants in West Chicago; Perrysburg, Ohio; and Mexico City. The firm posted sales of $78 million in 2004 and Carfora said officials expect to hit the $90 million mark this year. About half of BMCI's sales come from the automotive market.
BMCI's bulk molding compound is a mixture of fiberglass and thermosetting resin - usually a form of unsaturated polyester. The material, which can be injection molded on specially equipped machines, competes with high-temperature thermoplastics in automotive, electrical and home-appliance markets.
Emei is a privately held manufacturing and trading firm focusing on electronics applications in China and the Pacific Rim.