Groupe Lacroix plans to set up its first U.S. packaging plant, in Iowa.
The Bois d'Amont, France, company aims to build an injection molding operation in Le Mars, Iowa, confirmed Christine Beuveret, sales manager for the firm's Canadian subsidiary, North American IML Containers of St. Placide, Quebec. The facility will start with two Netstal injection presses, with more to be added as the business grows, Beuveret said in a telephone interview.
The St. Placide plant also relies on Netstal presses.
IML Containers Iowa will lease a plant initially, according to local newspaper reports, but plans to invest $9.8 million to build a new site in two to three years. Dairy and other food processors will be the main markets for thin-wall polypropylene containers molded in Le Mars. Beuveret said the Canadian subsidiary has been exporting some of its production to U.S. markets, and the Iowa plant will back out some of the exports.
The Canadian business started in 2000. It makes molded and thermoformed containers, and a sister company, Lacroix Packaging - also in St. Placide - makes wood containers for cheese and paper composite packaging.
Groupe Lacroix tries to be close to customers, Beuveret said. Local Iowa customers are likely to include Wells' Dairy Inc., Land O'Lakes Inc. and Schwan Food Co.
The company emphasizes custom-designed containers rather than standard shapes for general sale, she added. It has specialized in in-mold labeling since 1989.
Groupe Lacroix runs 18 plants around the world. Within the parent firm, the plastics operations comprise its Plasti-Lax business.
Published reports said IML Containers qualifies for $223,000 in Iowa state tax credits to build a 40,000-square-foot facility. The Iowa Department of Economic Development expects the operation to employ 27.