Israeli housewares molder Starplast Industries Ltd. is considering building a factory in the U.S., as it sees growing demand from cost-conscious American consumers.
The Haifa-based company claims to be Israel's second-largest injection molding firm, with about 110 presses at its factory in the city of Afula.
“We may soon open up a new production facility in the United States,” said Yvonne Famini, Starplast export manager.
The firm counts major American and European retailers like Wal-Mart and Target among its customers for its lines of plastic housewares, storage containers, and outdoor play equipment under the Starplay name.
Famini was interviewed at Starplast's booth at the Asiamold trade fair, held Sept. 21-23 in Guangzhou, where the company was promoting a related business selling its used molds to housewares makers in emerging markets.
She declined to give more details of the potential investment in the U.S. The company currently has a warehouse in New Jersey. Starplast would like to reduce lead times and transportation costs from its factory in Israel and meet growing demand in North America, she said.
“Business is good,” Famini said. “People who were buying in the upscale chain stores, they are coming down a bit. Wal-Mart, Target, the Dollar Store, our customers — they are getting more business.”
The privately owned firm had sales of about $100 million last year, and is expecting sales growth of at least 10 percent this year, she said.
Starplast officials also believe the firm is succeeding because it focuses on industrial design. The company employs eight designers and is constantly looking for new products while improving on old ones, Famini said.
“Our competitive advantage is based on our flexibility … innovation and design,” she said.
Starplast has about 450 employees, and its largest injection molding machine has 2,500 tons of clamping force. It has about 4,500 molds in its stocks.
The company was hoping the Asiamold exhibition, a sister fair to Euromold in Frankfurt, would help boost its business selling used molds in China.
Starplast and its marketing partner in that business — Kent, England-based Mouldman.com — are selling an increasing number of used molds in India and other Asian countries, but China is a newer market for them, said Steven Cartwright, director of Mouldman.com.