Conair Group Inc. featured its downstream extrusion auxiliary equipment at Plastimagen in Mexico City.
``Now that we're established here, in our material-handling products, our bread and butter, it's time to expand and sell the full range of equipment,'' said Bill Hricsina, Conair's international business manager.
``I think the Mexican market is pretty good and continues to grow in areas like automotive, packaging, drainage, pipe and medical,'' as well as PET bottles and preforms, Hricsina said.
Hricsina is based in Franklin, Pa., but he is also director general of the company's Conair Mexicana SA de CV unit, based in Guadalupe, near Monterrey, Mexico. For the past 10 years, Hricsina said he's spent an average of one week per month in Latin America.
The experience helps him keep a close eye on business in Mexico, which he said has been very good.
``2007 was a record year, and the first quarter of 2008 was ahead of last year,'' he said.
When the U.S. economy slumps, Mexico's economy typically follows a few months later with a downturn of its own. It remains to be seen if that pattern will follow suit this year.
``The [Mexico sales] reps have been telling me that they're seeing a little bit of a slowdown, which might mean that we're heading into that three- to six-month lag time. But with the activity that we're seeing at the show, it doesn't look like a slowdown,'' Hricsina said.
On the downstream extrusion side of the business, some strong markets for Conair in Mexico include door and window profiles and medical tubing, according to Mark Mulone, sales manager for extrusion.
``The deck market is still a couple of years off,'' Mulone said.