After a brief delay, Ampacet Corp. plans to open plants making concentrates in Brazil and India in early 2011.
At the same time, Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Ampacet isn't forgetting about the North American market, where it will install five new twin-screw extrusion lines in the first half of 2011. The firm also will add a new line at a location in Italy by midyear.
The new plants and lines will allow Ampacet to capitalize on a 2010 growth year in which sales could end up increasing by as much as 20 percent, President and CEO Robert DeFalco said in a recent phone interview.
This year  has been surprisingly good, especially since going into it we hadn't budgeted for an increase in sales, he said. It's been a pleasant surprise.
The Brazilian and Indian plants were set to open during 2010, but were delayed because of a variety of logistical issues, DeFalco explained. The Brazilian plant in CamaÃ§ari now is set to open in January with 11 million to 13 million pounds of annual capacity of black concentrates for blown film, blow molding and injection molding applications.
Ampacet previously had supplied Brazil with black concentrates from plants in Argentina and the U.S. The firm already operates a plant in CamaÃ§ari making white concentrates.
In India, Ampacet will open a plant in Pune in March. The new facility will have 24 million to 29 million pounds of annual capacity for white and additive concentrates. A new building at the site already has been constructed, and its extrusion equipment is on location, DeFalco said.
Ampacet's North American projects include three new lines in DeRidder, La., and single new lines in Cartersville, Ga., and Kitchener, Ontario. Two of the lines in DeRidder will be for color and additive concentrates, while the third will be used to make black masterbatches based on engineering resins such as nylon, polycarbonate and ABS.
The new line in Cartersville will make white masterbatches based on those same resins. In Kitchener, Ampacet will install a new color concentrates line for custom packaging and other uses.
Ampacet's plant in Busto Garolfo, Italy, will receive a new line for making color concentrates. The firm also is scouting for a new location in Europe for production of white and additive concentrates. DeFalco said Ampacet hopes to have the site selected and a new plant in place by the end of 2012.
The expansions and growth initiatives all are part of a broader strategy at Ampacet, which ranks as one of North America's 30 largest makers of compounds and concentrates, and long has been recognized as a leader in the white and black concentrates market.
We've had some product mix change, DeFalco said. We're doing more color and additives work, and we're looking into other areas to service higher-value markets. We're not just chasing volume.
Unlike many materials makers, Ampacet hasn't had much difficulty in sourcing titanium dioxide additives in 2010. DeFalco said he chalks this fact up to his firm's position as a sizable buyer in the market. However, Ampacet has had to fight to supply itself with organic pigments and some other types of additives.
Ampacet also has made products available based on biopolymers or on recycled content to meet sustainability goals, but DeFalco said not all customers are willing to pay higher prices for such products.
On the growth front, compounds/concentrates firms such as A. Schulman Inc. and Citadel Plastics Inc. have been active in making acquisitions, but Ampacet's preferred route has been organic growth. And DeFalco sounds like that approach isn't likely to change.
We look at expansions and acquisitions all the time, he said. But we're really only interested if it can get us into a new geographic market. We're well-distributed around the world, and we don't want to expand at the expense of an existing business.
Privately owned Ampacet expects to post sales of more than $800 million in 2010.