HuhtamÃ¤ki Oyj of Espoo, Finland, is investing 17 million euros ($22.8 million) on a new facility near its existing plant in Thailand to develop its position as a leading consumer packaging company in the emerging Asian market.
HuhtamÃ¤ki said the new facility, located close to the existing plant in the Samutsakorn Industrial Estate in Bangkok, will commence production around mid-2008, supplying the local food and consumer goods industry with advanced flexible packaging.
``We already have a solid position in Asia, but actively look for new opportunities to develop growth platforms,'' said Chief Executive Officer Heikki Takanen. ``This market is growing rapidly, over 10 percent per year and we want to make investments in order to capture the growth.''
``This project will strengthen our position and our existing customer portfolio as well as support exports of Thailand's growing food-related segments,'' said Maurice Petitjean, executive vice president of flexibles, films and molded fiber in Europe.
HuhtamÃ¤ki also is expecting to start production at a rigid packaging facility in Guangzhou, China, by end of the year. The facility was nearing completion in the first quarter of this year, according to the company's first-quarter 2007 financial report.
In related news, HuhtamÃ¤ki's flexible packaging facility in Rudrapur, India, started commercial production in January. In Europe, HuhtamÃ¤ki has added capacity in food-service hot cups in several units during the first quarter of this year. In the Americas, it expects production from the retortable flexible packaging at its existing facility in Malvern, Pa., in the second half of the year.
HuhtamÃ¤ki ended the first quarter with sales of 564.7 million euros ($758.4 million), up from 562.1 million euros ($754.9 million) a year ago. For 2006, it had sales of 2.28 billion euros ($3.1 billion).
Europe was the main source of sales, accounting for first-quarter sales of 304.9 million euros ($409.5 million), up 4 percent from 292.6 million euros ($392.9 million) in the corresponding quarter of last year, having generated 1.19 billion euros ($1.6 billion) in sales for 2006.
HuhtamÃ¤ki reported robust growth in its flexibles, films and molder fiber businesses.
Europe increased its contribution to the total sales to 54 percent from 52 percent last year, while contributions from the Americas declined to 29 percent from 31 percent previously. Asia-Oceania-Africa maintained the sales share of 17 percent during the quarter.
The first-quarter sales from the Americas slipped to 163.7 million euros ($219.8 million) from 176.3 million euros ($236.8 million) a year ago. For 2006, the Americas generated sales of 711.5 million euros ($955.5 million).
HuhtamÃ¤ki's Asian flexibles and rigid business continued to grow in the first quarter. Sales rose to 96.1 million euros ($129.1 million) during the first quarter of 2007 from 93.2 million euros ($125.2 million) previously. Asia accounted for 375.4 million euros ($504.1 million) sales in 2006.