Wisconsin Film & Bag Inc. is looking south for expansion, after agreeing to buy a Mississippi facility owned by Desert Plastics LLC.
Phoenix-based Desert temporarily stopped production at its two facilities in late February, after telling economic development officials that high resin prices had caused the company to assess its situation.
The plant in Summit, Miss., will reopen May 2 under Shawano, Wis.-based Wisconsin Film & Bag, said Jim Feeney, vice president of sales and marketing for the Wisconsin film producer. The 93,000-square-foot site gives the company its first facility in the southern United States - and its only plant outside Shawano - and ample room to serve customers in that region, he said.
``It's a region we have wanted to enter and have looked at for several years now,'' Feeney said April 19. ``But we didn't find the right candidate [to acquire]. This opportunity surprised us; they've had good success with the same kind of fundamentals as our company.''
Desert had been a smaller-sized competitor to Wisconsin Film & Bag, with both companies extruding custom film and bags for specialty applications, Feeney said. The Mississippi plant makes bag liners, pallet covers, shrink bundling film and small bakery bags.
The company will use the five monolayer extrusion lines at the Mississippi plant and bring in a sixth line, from Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering Co. Inc., in August, Feeney said. The facility will be renamed Southern Film & Bag LLC.
About 20 employees will be rehired and start at the plant April 26, and production will resume May 2, Feeney said.
Wisconsin Film & Bag purchased the plant's assets for an undisclosed price from Desert Plastics' bank and equity partners, Feeney said.
The status of Desert Plastics' Phoenix plant was not known. An official with Desert Plastics did not return several telephone calls and an e-mail seeking comment, and phone calls to the company's offices were not answered. Wisconsin Film & Bag has no interest in the Arizona plant, Feeney said.
Wisconsin Film & Bag has made several recent changes. In November, the company sold the assets of its converting and printing operation in Hartland, Wis., to Plastic Packaging Technologies LLC of Kansas City, Mo. The Wisconsin company opted to concentrate on its Custom Poly Division, specializing in the extrusion of PE bags and films, and added a monolayer extrusion line in Shawano in March.