Apple pie and spaghetti are on the menu at Matrixx Group, as the compounder is expanding in the U.S. and Italy.
Evansville, Ind.-based Matrixx is in the final stages of deciding where to put its new U.S. compounding plant. It's come down to four potential sites: three in Virginia and one in West Virginia, Chief Operating Officer Keith Rodden said recently by phone. He declined to provide specific locations but said all four sites are near Roanoke, Va. The company will make a decision by mid-December, he said.
``We've been gaining a lot of business in the Atlantic coast, but we don't have a facility east of Nashville [Tenn.] or Evansville,'' Rodden explained. ``With the cost of freight escalating and the need for customer service becoming more and more important, we had to make a move.''
The new plant will cover about 60,000 square feet and will operate roughly 65 million pounds of compounding capacity on a variety of single- and twin-screw extrusion lines. Equipment already has been ordered, and Rodden said he expects commercial production to launch in the third quarter of 2007.
``Right now we're working with state officials and reviewing our options,'' he said.
The site will create 20 jobs and house Matrixx's first use of continuous mixing equipment. Matrixx expects the plant to produce its full line of compounds based on polypropylene and a variety of engineering resins.
Continuous mixing ``is a capability we've long wanted, but we'd never made the investment,'' Rodden said. ``Now it's tied in to customer needs for any material that requires a loading of more than 50 percent.''
The site will be the fourth North American location for Matrixx, joining sites in Evansville, Nashville and Houston.
In Italy, Matrixx is buying compounder Pozzi Plast Snc, in Castel Goffredo, for an undisclosed sum. Pozzi Plast makes compounds based on nylon and other engineering resins on single- and twin-screw lines.
Matrixx already does compounding and recycling in Marcaria, Italy, through a joint venture with Italian firm Tessil Futura srl of Milan. And it recently added European distribution through a deal with Azelis SA, also of Milan, a major plastics and chemicals distributor with annual sales of more than $1 billion.
Also in 2007, Matrixx will add another single-screw line in Houston. Rodden said the firm may install a similar additional line in Evansville.
Compounds based on PP make up more than half of Matrixx's sales, but products based on polycarbonate, nylon, polybutylene terephthalate and other engineering resins are growing at annual rates of 20-30 percent.
Matrixx employs 550 at its current sites.
The 21-year-old company expects to post sales of more than $140 million in 2006.