MEXICO CITY Uflex Ltd., a Noida, India-based flexible packaging giant, will invest $75 million to build its second polyester film manufacturing line in Mexico, as part of a global expansion plan.
Mexico will be one of seven manufacturing hubs Uflex plans to have around the world within the next six years, Chief Executive Officer Pradeep Tyle said during a Feb. 27 interview in Mexico City.
The target we have set ourselves is to be in seven countries by 2015, he said. There will probably be a hub in Eastern Europe. Mexico will be the hub for the Americas.
Founded with $10,000 in 1983 by businessman Ashok Chaturvedi, Uflex manufactures biaxially oriented PET and polypropylene films, among other items.
The firm's first manufacturing site outside India was opened five years ago in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The $200 million plant makes plain polyester film and metalized polyester film.
Another Uflex plant is under construction in Egypt.
In September, the company announced it was building a one-line polyester film plant in the Mexican petrochemicals port of Altamíra at a cost of about $108 million.
Tyle said the investment figure has been revised to $75 million, but added that Uflex will invest a further $75 million to build a second, identical line at the 62-acre site by March 2010.
The line, scheduled to be operational by mid-March, will produce multilayered film that is 8.7 meters wide. The line will be capable of running at 500 meters per minute, with a capacity of 36,000 metric tons per year, Tyle said.
It's state-of-the-art technology There's no line like this in the whole of the Americas, Tyle said.
Lindauer Dornier GmbH, based in Lindau, Germany, supplied the orientation machinery.
The winder comes from Kampf Schneid- und Wickeltechnik GmbH & Co. KG, of Wiehl, Germany, while EGS Gauging Inc. of Wilmington, Mass., supplied the gauging system.
During the first phase, Uflex will employ 150 of whom 50 were sent to Dubai for three months' training. Tyle said that the training mission is another first for a Mexican plastics firm.
Uflex sells products in 94 countries, including most national markets in the Americas.
We were looking for a place to set up manufacturing because we have to cater for the whole of America, Tyle said.
We evaluated Brazil, Canada, Colombia and Mexico and came to the conclusion that Mexico is a good place.
No. 1, it is at the center of the Americas; No. 2, the manpower available here is quite good and; No. 3, Mexico, as a market, has not developed too much into flexible packaging and this gives us the opportunity to [develop] the market, he said.
Mexico and India have many things in common, he said, including a qualified labor force and numerous technological schools and colleges.
But Mexico, despite having free-trade agreements with 44 countries, has never looked [for opportunities] beyond the United States, he said. That is not the right way The world is more than the United States.
Uflex has 15 customers in Mexico, but when we meet one year from now we will have created many more, Tyle said.