Alpha Packaging Inc. will open its first European production facility in April in Roosendaal, Netherlands.
In addition to moving some equipment from the U.S. to the Netherlands for the new plant, Alpha said it has acquired the assets of SmartPET BV of Breda, Netherlands, a blow molder of PET bottles and jars that recently entered liquidation. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Marny Bielefeldt, Alpha's marketing manager, said in a March 31 telephone interview the machinery being shipped from North America to Europe will include several Aoki machines for molding vitamin bottles with necks measuring 38-45 millimeters. Alpha also has begun moving SmartPET's machinery and molds into its new Dutch facility.
CEO Dave Spence said in a March 31 news release that the SmartPET deal will help St. Louis-based Alpha quickly enter Europe's personal-care, over-the-counter liquid drug and food- packaging markets.
We had looked at a staged entry into Europe, leading with our bread-and-butter nutritional accounts, he said, but the opportunity to capture immediate business from the personal-care and OTC liquid markets is significant.
Through existing distributor relationships, and through direct contact with new customers, Alpha will be looking for every opportunity to grow in Europe as quickly as possible.
Alpha produces high density polyethylene and PET bottles for the nutritional, pharmaceutical, personal-care, and niche food and beverage markets. It operates five plants in the United States: St. Louis; Salt Lake City; Bethlehem, Pa.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Ypsilanti, Mich. The company also has a container decorating facility in Minnesota and a warehouse in California.
For about five years, Alpha has operated a sales office and warehouse at Alpha Packaging International BV in Wijchen, Netherlands.
Company officials said they expect the machines and molds coming from the U.S. to be in full operation by mid-May at the Roosendaal plant.
According to Mike DeFazio, Alpha's vice president of operations, Alpha's advantage over competitors that serve the European nutritional supplement market is that none of them are using the higher-cavity machines that Alpha is bringing from North America for its packer lines.
By bringing our existing machinery to Europe, we'll hit the ground running with a great deal of capacity, he said in the release. There is not anyone in this region who will have the efficiencies and production capacity that our machines yield.
Founded in 1969, Alpha ranked No. 26 in Plastics News' most recent survey of North American blow molders, with annual sales of $118 million. The company employs 525.
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