Materials firms Cromex SA, Macroplast SA and A. Schulman Inc. each are meeting the need for new capacity in the fast-growing Brazilian market.
São Paulo-based Cromex — South America's largest maker of color and additive concentrates — replaced two older lines at its São Paulo plant with a new line earlier this year. The move increased the site's annual capacity by almost 70 million pounds per year.
The family-owned firm now operates about 290 million pounds of annual capacity at plants in São Paulo and Bahia, making white, black, color and additive masterbatch concentrates, commercial director Cesar Ortega said at Brasilplast 2011, held May 9-13 in São Paulo.
Flexible film is Cromex's fastest-growing end market, with automotive a close second, Ortega added. The firm exports to more than 50 countries and has seen strong export growth recently from countries in Africa.
Cromex also is working on bio-based “green” polyethylene compounds in a partnership with Brazilian materials leader Braskem SA, also of São Paulo. Cromex generated sales of about $200 million in 2010, up 15 percent from the prior year. Sales at the 550-employee firm could grow as much as 10-12 percent in 2011, Ortega said.
“Brazil is growing fast, but there's space for everybody,” he said of the plastics field. “[Cromex] has been here for 30 years, and we know the market well and have a lot of longtime customers.”
Macroplast added two new twin-screw extrusion lines earlier this year and now operates 17 lines at its plant in São Bernardo do Campo. Co-owner Karin Braun Gregori said at Brasilplast 2011 that the firm is looking to move into more specialty products and wants to make inroads into automotive and other markets.
“Right now we're in the middle ground, but specialties are where we want to be,” she said.
São Paulo-based Macroplast produces its own line of color compounds and masterbatch concentrates and also does toll compounding work. The firm employs 150.
The appliance market has been very strong for Macroplast this year, Braun Gregori added. More than 20 foreign firms also are interested in doing toll compounding work with the firm.
Schulman's previously announced new extrusion line will be in place by September at the São Paulo plant it acquired late last year from Mash Compostos Plásticos. The line is needed to handle double-digit growth that the Fairlawn, Ohio-based firm is seeing in South America, Sergio Dulcini, executive director, said at Brasilplast.
There's more money now in the pockets of the average Brazilian, and they want more sophisticated products, he added.
Schulman also is working to develop new blends based on nylon and ABS for the Brazilian market. In Brazil, Schulman can provide masterbatch concentrates, engineered plastics and specialty rotomolding powders. Markets served by its Brazilian operations include food packaging, agricultural films and consumer products such as plastic bags and containers.
This edition of Brasilplast was expected to draw a crowd of 65,000, including more than 1,300 exhibitors.