NCT Group and Itochu sign distribution pact
BREDA, NETHERLANDS - A new polymer distribution joint venture is being formed in Europe by Breda-based NCT Group and Itochu Corp. of Tokyo.
Itochu will take a minority stake in NCT Holland BV in Breda for an undisclosed sum, with the option of acquiring majority control later.
NCT, with offices and operations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia, distributes plastic raw materials. Itochu, a trading company with plastics supply experience in the Far East, was keen to extend its range to south Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
NCT has invested heavily in its sales and distribution network in recent years and wants to grow, said NCT Group President Marco Huysmans.
``As a consequence of the buildup of petrochemical complexes in the Middle East, a considerable change in product streams is expected,'' Huysmans said in a recent news release.
Itochu plastics division General Manager Hiroyasu Kawakami said NCT already has representation in his firm's areas of interest and can help provide it with in-depth market knowledge.
Clariant JV adding quinacridone plant
HANGZHOU, CHINA - Muttenz, Switzerland-based Clariant International Ltd. and Zhejiang Baihe Chemical Holding Group of Xiaoshan, China, plan to expand their organic pigment joint venture by building a factory to make quinacridone pigments.
The new facility will be built at the joint venture's existing plant in Hangzhou, which makes azo organic pigments. A Clariant news release did not say when the plant would start or give details of its capacity.
The joint venture is called Hangzhou Baihe Clariant Pigments Co. Ltd. Quinacridone is used in plastics and a variety of industrial applications.
Italy reports growth in machinery exports
MILAN, ITALY - Italian production of plastics and rubber machinery and molds grew by 10.4 percent in 2007, to 4.25 billion euros ($5.83 billion), over 2006, according to the Assocomaplast trade association in Milan.
Exports jumped 15.2 percent in 2007, to 2.69 billion euros ($3.7 billion).
The overall domestic market was 2.17 billion euros in 2007 ($2.97 billion), up 1.3 percent from the 2006 figure.
On the export side, exports of injection presses and thermoforming machines declined in 2007. But Italian exports of extrusion lines and blow molding machines rose, Assocomaplast said. Exports of molds also grew.
Germany is, by far, the top export destination of Italian-made plastics and rubber machinery, accounting for 14.1 percent of total exports. The United States fell to third place at 5.7 percent, behind Russia, which jumped to second at 7.7 percent of the total. In 2006, Russia was in seventh place.
Assocomaplast reported that Italian equipment exports to Russia jumped by 90 percent; India, 36.8 percent; and Turkey, 19 percent. Equipment exports also gained with respect to ``traditional'' export partners of Germany (22 percent), France (11.1 percent) and Spain (5.3 percent).
Exports to U.S. customers managed to gain 4.2 percent from the year before, despite the weak dollar, which makes goods priced in euros more expensive, the trade group said.
UK packaging maker Sirane eyeing US site
TELFORD, ENGLAND - A British plastics packaging maker looks set to branch into the North American manufacturing market by the end of the year.
Sirane Ltd., based in Telford, is looking into American sites after some U.S. food companies expressed interest in its ovenable absorbent pads, rotisserie liners and absorbent cook-in bags.
The firm said expanding overseas will give food firms in the U.S. a wider product choice.
The company, which appointed its first U.S. sales manager this month, plans to have a plant ready by the end of 2008 and eventually to open a second site in the Midwest.
Sirane director Simon Balderson said the first site probably will be based in the Carolinas, Virginia or Georgia. Mexico and Canada are among other countries also being considered.
Sirane, which employs more than 90 and has sales of more than £7m ($8.7 million) plans to launch its entire range, including the Dri-Fresh Resolve line, a variety of absorbent packaging that can be used in meat and fish trays, or to protect fruit.
According to Balderson, the U.S. typically sees food pads as ``still made by sandwiching cellulose fluff between two pieces of thin polythene and bonding the structure together with glue.''
``These pads have a nonabsorbent edge, are difficult to handle, are available in a limited range of sizes and colors and, frankly, look awful in a meat pack.''
In contrast, he said, his company's ``absorbent and cellulose-based compostable packaging is set to create a vibrant market [in the U.S.].''
Ohio's RPM acquires Flowcrete of Britain
MEDINA, OHIO - Holding company RPM International Inc. acquired Sandbach, England-based Flowcrete Group this month for an undisclosed sum.
Flowcrete manufactures resin flooring systems for predominantly commercial applications.
RPM of Medina already owns Maple Shade, N.J.-based Stonhard, which makes resin flooring systems, mostly for industrial applications. The two businesses will complement each other and will be able to share certain technologies, said Kelly Tompkins, RPM executive vice president and chief administrative officer, in an April 10 telephone interview.
``This is a strategic complement to the Stonhard business,'' he said. ``Flowcrete is a slightly different technology. The other major driver of this acquisition was geography. It gives us a broader reach, particularly into the Asia-Pacific regions. Flowcrete is almost entirely in Europe and Asia-Pacific.
``It gives us a more significant presence in some emerging geographic markets that are very attractive.''
Flowcrete employs more than 300 worldwide and has eight plants, according to its Web site. The firm has annual sales of about $85 million, RPM said.
The floor systems are sold to applicators and contractors under several brand names, including Flowcrete, Flowfresh, Isocrete, Deckshield and Mondeco.
RPM's industrial products include roofing systems, sealants, corrosion control coatings, flooring coatings and specialty chemicals.
S&G paying $24.8M for packager Peak
BUCHEON, SOUTH KOREA - Bucheon plastic firm Daewon Semiconductor Packaging Industrial Co. Ltd. plans to buy Hong Kong-based Peak International Ltd., boosting its presence in highly engineered plastic packaging for disk drives and other technology products.
Daewon subsidiary S&G Co., based in Bucheon, said March 27 it would pay US$24.8 million to buy Peak. The offer, at least for now, is stopping a move by several Peak shareholders seeking to oust the company's board.
S&G, which extrudes and injection molds plastic shipping products for the semiconductor industry, said Peak would help diversify its product range.
``We believe that combining Peak's business with those of S&G offers significant synergies as well as additional scale to S&G,'' S&G President Sungyuk Won said in a news release. Won is also a senior vice president at Daewon.
Both Daewon and Peak declined further comment.
Peak, which is listed on Nasdaq, makes plastic packaging for storage, transportation and handling of disk drives, semiconductor devices, wafer fabrication products and medical devices.
The firm employs about 1,400, including some workers at a factory in Shenzhen, China, that is operated through an agreement with an unaffiliated company.
Peak said it has been trying to explore new markets and launch products in the wafer fabrication and medical markets, to turn around disappointing sales. It reported a net loss of US$200,000 for the nine months ended Dec. 31, on sales of US$36.6 million.
Alcore Brigantine adds new workshop
ANGLET, FRANCE - Alcore Brigantine of Anglet just outfitted a workshop in its facility to process nonmetallic honeycombs.
The site now produces aluminum honeycomb for ready-to-bond aircraft parts.
The 4,300-square-foot workshop is for preparing and machining Nomex and Kevlar N636 aramid materials for aircraft applications, including high-strength, lightweight sandwich panels.
The workshop houses the site's fourth five-axis machining center, officials said.