As it shops its plastics division, Owens-Illinois Inc. of Perrysburg, Ohio, is moving ahead with running the business, announcing April 23 the creation of two joint ventures in Mexico.
One of the ventures is O-I Pavisa SA de CV, a 50-50 collaboration with Pavisa Industries SA de CV in Tlalnepantla, Mexico. The venture will make plastic health-care containers for Mexico and other Latin American countries.
``The joint venture started March 15,'' said Max Rosales, Pavisa's import sales manager, in a telephone interview. ``The market is increasing. It's a new way to work in Mexico and it's a great opportunity with O-I.''
Mexico's pharmaceutical industry is growing 18-22 percent annually, Rosales said. The venture will make products at a facility just outside Mexico City.
``This is an attractive opportunity for O-I to enter the health-care market in Mexico with a knowledgeable partner and at a new ... facility,'' Mike Castillo, Latin America business development manager for O-I Healthcare Packaging Inc., said in a news release. O-I officials declined further comment.
The other joint venture is O-I Mega SA de CV, with soft drink producer Bepensa Industries. Bepensa is the exclusive bottler of Coca-Cola products in the Yucatan Peninsula, according to O-I.
``The O-I Mega JV will benefit from O-I's advanced compression molding technology for manufacturing [carbonated soft drink] closures, which should help to expand our presence in the growing Mexican market,'' said David Beckmann, vice president of global commercial operations for O-I Closure Inc.
According to one industry source who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the expansion of O-I's plastics business does not indicate anything is askew with its attempt to divest the remaining plastics operation.
``They still have to operate the business,'' the source said. ``They have to continue on in case they don't sell.''
The plastics business recently reported first-quarter sales of $188 million. Al Stroucken, O-I's chairman and chief executive officer, said he will discuss alternatives for that business with the board in the second quarter.
``Given the sensitivity of the process, we're not able to disclose much,'' he said.