Melbourne-based Viscount Plastics Pty. Ltd., which specializes in rigid plastics packaging and industrial and materials-handling products, is boosting its packaging operations in China.
Mike Dwyer, Viscount's managing director, said Viscount is building a new packaging plant, with 430,600 square feet of floor space, in Changzhou to replace an existing plant. In addition, Viscount plants in Guangzhou and LangFang are being expanded. The new plant should open by July 2007.
Viscount has operated in China since 1993 and most of its products, predominantly polypropylene pails for oil, paint, food and other industries, have been sold locally.
Dwyer would not say how much Viscount is spending on its Chinese expansion, but said it is ``a very significant investment'' that the firm may disclose once the projects are complete.
Viscount, a subsidiary of Linpac Group Ltd., also has packaging operations in Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Viscount also announced that it will sell its plastic automotive components business in South Australia.
Dwyer said Viscount decided to sell the automotive business to Australian firms Active Plastic Industries Pty. Ltd. of Melbourne and Trident Tooling Pty. Ltd. of Adelaide. Terms were not disclosed.
Dwyer said auto components had become ``a specialized area.''
``The days of being a general parts manufacturer are over,'' he said. ``It's been a bit up and down over the years. Part of the problem is, you are completely dependent on how many cars your customer sells. You have no control.''
The Adelaide plant manufactures bumper bars, trims, air-conditioning units and other auto parts, using a range of polymers.
Dwyer said the sale, which is set for completion Jan. 2, will not affect staff or customer supply.
API injection molds parts for the automotive industry, with operations in Australia, North America and Asia.
API director Steen Saurbrey said the Viscount plant acquisition gives API ``the capability to be a full service provider to the Australian automotive industry in Melbourne and Adelaide, creating a new, major player in the industry.''
He added that API will install new equipment and expand existing operations in Adelaide.
Trident manufactures injection molds for the automotive, industrial and household goods industries.