Vifan USA Inc. of Morristown, Tenn., is investing $72 million to double its biaxially oriented polypropylene film production capacity.
``We intend to be in full operation by January 2009,'' Morristown project manager John Heckman said in a July 24 telephone interview. Work on the expansion started more than a year ago.
The company is adding 130,000 square feet to the plant, which currently is 300,000 square feet.
Vifan is owned by Vibac Group SpA of Ticineto, Italy, which also operates Vifan Canada in Lanoraie, Quebec.
Vifan USA has been in Morristown since 1998. It has 120 employees and one production line. With the expansion, it will add another full production line and roughly 55 workers.
The firm specializes in film for overwrap and food packaging, including clear, metalized and white opaque films. According to its Web site, Vifan has combined worldwide production capacity of 330 million pounds a year: 110 million pounds in North America and 220 million pounds in Europe.
While the North American BOPP market has struggled in past years from overcapacity, Heckman said his firm knows the BOPP market is going to continue to grow. He said Vifan officials are working to get local and state incentives to assist with the growth.
Vifan had estimated film and sheet sales of $180 million in North America, according to Plastics News' 2006 ranking.