A merger between two PET preform producers in Eastern Europe has created a major regional player with the capacity to mold 8 billion preforms per year.
The deal, completed in June, brought together Russia's top preform molder, NB-Retal Co. of Moscow, and NB Europe UAB of Vilnius, Lithuania.
The resulting company, Retal Industries, includes NB-Retal's nine plants in western Russia and NB-Europe's four plants in the Czech Republic, the Ukraine and Lithuania. It claims to be the No. 4 preform molder in Europe.
Meanwhile, Retal Industries of Moscow is close to completing a $100 million PET resin plant in KlaipÃ²da, Lithuania. The project, started by NB Europe, formerly known as the Nemuno Banga Group, will comprise two lines with combined annual capacity of 680 million pounds. The first line is to begin operating in October,
The new group plans moves into other packaging areas, beginning with the launch of a two-line PET film plant in Noginsk, near Moscow, next year, said marketing director Alexei Chubykin.
Retal is investing 20 million euros ($24 million) to buy the two oriented film lines from DMT SA of St. Bourget du Lac, France. The first line is to begin operating in the second half of next year.
``We are looking at new business directions which will make the company more stable,'' Chubykin said.
At an estimated 26 million pounds per year, the market for biaxially oriented PE film ``is not a big market in Russia yet,'' he said. However, it is growing 7 percent a year, he added.
Before the merger, NB-Retal operated 55 presses, had the capacity to turn out 4.5 billion preforms and held a 30 percent share of the Russian market. In addition, it molded about 1 billion closures per year, mainly at its Bryansk plant in southwest Russia.
NB Europe operates 35 injection presses. Its biggest facility, in Lentveris, has 20 machines, according to Chubykin.
The firm has focused production on European markets and its multilayer business aimed at the beer, juice and dairy sectors has grown more recently. NB Europe claimed a market share of 3 percent in Europe.
Russia's market is estimated at 12 billion preforms per year.