Clariant Masterbatches has made a pair of deals to increase its presence in Latin America.
Earlier this year, Muttenz, Switzerland-based Clariant bought PlastiColor SA, a color masterbatch maker in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Then in October, Clariant acquired MasterAndino SA, a maker of color masterbatches in Bogota, Colombia.
No purchase price was disclosed in either deal. Clariant announced both acquisitions in a Nov. 12 news release.
Clariant also opened a new masterbatches plant in December in Maipú, Chile.
``Along with investments in Guatemala and Chile, the expansion in Colombia demonstrates our commitment to be the leading supplier of color and additive masterbatches not only in the Andean market, but also across all of Latin America,'' Masterbatches head Dominik von Bertrab said in the news release.
Clariant will keep the 50-employee MasterAndino site open until early 2008, when its inventory and most of its equipment will be moved to a newly constructed Clariant plant in nearby Cota. An existing 68-employee Clariant site in Bogot will be consolidated into the new Cota facility at that time as well.
MasterAndino was founded in 1995 by industry veteran Rafael Botero, and now ranks as one of Colombia's largest masterbatch firms. The company makes color and additive masterbatches based on polyolefins, polystyrene, ABS and PET.
PlastiColor SA employs 29 and makes custom colors, primarily for the Central American market. Three jobs have been added at the site since Clariant made the acquisition. The Chilean plant makes color and special-effects masterbatches for polyolefins used in high-end packaging, consumer goods and fibers.
Clariant also is installing three new masterbatch lines at its plant in Suzano, Brazil. The firm also operates a plant in Venezuela and sales offices in Peru and Ecuador.
Earlier this month, Clariant announced it was consolidating its masterbatches plant in Naucalpan, Mexico - including four twin-screw extrusion lines and 180 jobs - into a nearby Clariant site in Santa Clara. The Santa Clara site already produces pigments and additives. A fifth twin-screw line will be added there by the end of 2008.
On Nov. 7, Clariant announced that its nine-month sales for 2007 were up almost 6 percent to more than 6.4 billion Swiss francs (US$5.6 billion). However, the firm's operating profit was flat vs. the same period last year at about 270 million Swiss francs (US$240 million).
In the first nine months of the year, Clariant Masterbatches and the pigments and additives units each enjoyed sales gains, but experienced substantial drops in operating income, largely because of higher raw material costs and slow markets for automotive and construction.