Polyplex Group, the world's fourth-largest maker of thin PET film, is considering setting up its first production in North America, likely in Mexico.
The company, which has film extrusion facilities in Thailand, India and Turkey, sees a Mexican plant similar to its Turkey operations, which it opened in 2005 to serve European markets.
The Mexico plant would likely have a thin film line with a capacity of 66 million pounds a year and a width of 28.5 feet, similar in size to the operation in Corlu, Turkey, said Rohit Vashistha, head of sales and marketing for the company's Polyplex (Thailand) Public Co. Ltd. subsidiary, which is publicly traded on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.
He disclosed the investment during a speech at the Plastics in Packaging Conference 2008, held June 12-13 in Bangkok, and organized by Singapore-based Asian Plastics News magazine, a partner publication of Plastics News.
``Our basic strategy is to go nearer to our customers,'' he said in an interview after his speech. ``We located in Turkey to better service the market requirements in Europe. Likewise, as of now anyway, we do not have any manufacturing of our own [in North America].''
He also said the company sees the Mexican domestic market as underserved.
He declined to say when the company would make a decision on a Mexican plant, but said it was not likely to do so this year. ``We are seriously considering it as an option,'' he said.
Polyplex Group, based in Noida, India, has a capacity of 235 million pounds per year of thin PET film, which it says gives it about 7 percent of the world market, trailing Toray Saehan Inc., DuPont Teijin Films and Mitsubishi Polyester Film Group.
Polyplex is also taking a second look at its strategy of building only new greenfield investments and is looking at making acquisitions, in part because the industry has too much capacity now and needs to consolidate, he said.
``We are not saying we will focus on this or that, but there is a significant need for consolidation today,'' he said. ``What we are saying is we are looking at opportunities wherever we can acquire assets.''
The excess supply has been driven by companies adding capacity in China faster than market demand, although he said the oversupply is narrowing.
Polyplex is also trying to diversify beyond PET film, with plans next year to add both biaxially-oriented polypropylene production in India and cast polypropylene film production in Thailand, he said.
The BOPP line, made by Bruckner Maschinenbau GmbH has a net output of 14,000 pounds per hour, according to a Jan. 23 statement from Bruckner.
The company has started a flexible packaging research and development facility in India focused on nanotechnology, barrier layers and sustainable packaging, Vashistha told the conference.
He declined in a separate interview to disclose details of the research facility, but said it would seek partnerships with government and university labs and said it would add additional pilot lines over the course of the next year.
Meanwhile, Polyplex said it has escaped anti-dumping duty on PET films imports by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which has recently declared zero duty for Thailand, while raising anti-dumping duty on PET films from China and Brazil.