Sonoco Products Co.'s Matrix Packaging unit is investing in a seventh blow molding plant less than six months after Sonoco bought the business.
Matrix has begun equipping a new, highly automated plant near St. Louis, in Hazelwood, Mo., and by the first quarter of 2008 it will be running six Bekum extrusion blow molding machines there. Its key initial client will be a nearby Procter & Gamble Co. plant, but the new operation also will take on more container customers.
Sonoco spokesman Roger Schrum said Matrix will lease the 150,000-square-foot building. Initially the plant will employ about 75. Hartsville, S.C.-based Sonoco did not disclose the cost of the project.
``Since acquiring Matrix Packaging at the end of May, we have seen the business continue to grow sales with new and existing customers,'' said Sonoco Executive Vice President Charles Sullivan in a Nov. 13 news release.
Matrix requires more capacity at other sites too, according to Matrix President Pushminder Judge. A total of three more Bekum extrusion blow molding machines will be installed later this year at Jefferson City, Mo., Los Angeles and one of Matrix's three sites in the Toronto area, the release said.
Sonoco paid $210 million for Matrix, essentially tripling its own blow molding profile. When Sonoco bought the business, it estimated Matrix would contribute about $140 million in annual sales.