A 100-year-old maker of snack food, cookies and juice from Mexico's tropical southeast felt obliged to produce its own PET bottles after two suppliers let it down. Now the firm has become a major player in the sector and is exporting its products.
In addition, it plans to attack the national PET bottle market in Mexico. And all of this has happened in the space of six years.
The company is Productos Richaud SA de CV of Campeche, Mexico. It sells an average of 30,000-40,000 19-liter PET purified-water bottles, known as garrafones, plus 10 million PET bottles in nine sizes from 140 milliliter to 1.5 liters, per month.
William MagaÃ±a, the company's commercial director, admits Richaud's entry into PET preforms and blow molding was accidental.
We were buying PET bottles for juices, he said at Plastimagen México 2010 in Mexico City. Our two suppliers let us down so we decided to buy our own machines and do the work ourselves.
It bought its first Sidel PET bottle blow molding machine six years ago. It now owns six. For garrafon production, Richaud has four Italian-made machines.
We have the whole of the southeast [Mexico market] and export to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Puerto Rico, said.
Richaud's clients are industrial concerns, including carbonated drink and juice bottlers. Employing a total of 400, Richaud has its own juice-bottling plant, another where it produces snacks and a third for manufacturing cookies.
The preform-making and blow molding operations employ 120. The company, a family-owned business run by José Antonio Richaud, has been making cookies for 100 years, snacks for 60 years, and juices for 20 years.
Our aim is to enter the PET bottle market at a national level, said MagaÃ±a, emphasizing that the company uses virgin, as opposed to recycled, resins.
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