Lone Star Plastics Inc., a film and bag company that has grown at an annual clip of 45 percent since 1997, has purchased a second facility to double its size and add capacity.
The company, based in Garland, Texas, will open a plant in Prattville, Ala., by the mid-September and install six extrusion lines to start, according to Chief Executive Officer Web Stickney. Lone Star intends to invest $16 million in the Prattville site, he said.
The new plant will take the pressure off the Texas facility, located outside Dallas, Stickney said. The Prattville plant will mirror the Garland plant both in size and products.
``We have very limited growth opportunities on our physical location in Garland,'' Stickney said in a June 2 telephone interview. ``We wanted to gain access to a very strong Southeastern market, where we have a number of customers. The plant fits us to a T.''
The Prattville site formerly housed an extruded film plant run by Bemis Co. Inc., before the Minneapolis film maker closed the facility in the fall of 2003. Bemis bought the 93,000-square-foot plant from Wright Plastics Co. in 2001.
Prattville, a city of 27,000 near Montgomery, Ala., aggressively had searched for a buyer. Lone Star officials met with the city at a trade show, Stickney said.
The deal was announced June 1. Lone Star plans to move into the building in the next three months.
``They want to come here as quickly as possible,'' said Connie Bainbridge, president of the Prattville Area Chamber of Commerce. ``We're just really excited to have them here and have the plant open again.''
Lone Star's neighbors in Prattville will include blow molder Liquid Container/Plaxicon Co. and automotive molder Arkay Industries Inc., in an area noted for plastics plants, Bainbridge said.
The move is the largest expansion in Lone Star's history. Co-owners Norman Chapman and Drayton McLane bought the firm in 1997, introduced new products and changed the company name from Popst Manufacturing Inc.
Since then, the firm has tested the limits of its 88,000-square-foot plant in Garland, Stickney said. Lone Star expects to reach capacity fairly quickly in Prattville. The new plant has the capacity to extrude 38 million pounds of polyethylene film annually; Garland produces 33 million pounds.
Lone Star makes industrial and commercial bags, including trash and mulch bags, and box liners. The company sells products either under its own brand or by private labeling.
While the bags and liners are shipped to more than 30 states, the firm's primary business is in the South, he said.
At least two of the six extrusion machines, making both coextrusion and monolayer film, will be installed by mid-September.
Lone Star also will install its first central-impression printing press, giving it the ability to print in color on its specialty bags, Stickney said. The plant has a rail spur, 10 silos and a 60-foot-high bay.
About 50 workers will start at the plant this fall. That number is expected to double within three years, he said.
Lone Star expects sales of close to $30 million this year, mainly from the Garland facility.