Corrugated plastics products extruder Cartonera Plástica SA de CV, which invested $2 million in its fourth polypropylene extrusion line last year, plans to buy more machinery in 2013.
“We're expecting significant growth this year and will be investing in more machinery,” said joint Managing Director Alberto Martínez. He would not specify a time frame, but said the investment will be made “definitely next year.” He did not disclose details about the equipment or its suppliers.
The company employs 230 at a 120,000-square-foot plant in Cuautitlán Izcalli, north of Mexico City. It processes 1.4 million pounds of resin per month and had 2011 sales of 220 million pesos ($17.8 million).
Martínez, who majored in chemical engineering in Houston, said the company expects sales “close to 300 million pesos this year.”
Cartonera Plástica, a Mexican family-owned company, was founded in 1988 by Eugenio Medina, a civil engineer with about 50 years in the plastics industry. According to Martínez, who joined the company seven years ago, Cartonera's share of the Mexican market for corrugated plastic products is about 60 percent. The firm claims to have five main competitors in the business.
The marketing industry, including advertising and publicity, makes up the bulk of Cartonera's customer base of about 1,500 — of which 400 are active accounts. A typical product for one client, PepsiCo Inc.'s Mexico subsidiary, is point-of-sale display advertising.
Most of Cartonera's clients are in Mexico, although it exports to customers in Guatemala, Honduras and Costa Rica.
“We don't have very many customers in Central America,” Martínez noted. But he added that the firm has five distributors in that region of its patented Air Plast micronization technology.
As to whether Cartonera is considering the U.S. as an export market, Martínez said: “Not at this moment, because the demand is very large in this part of the world, and it would be very hard to get in there [the United States]. We would have to invest in more materials.”
He said the firm could reconsider the U.S. market “in two or three years.”
“We still have to grow our capacity and maybe in about 10 years' time we will expand into other plastics,” he said.
Cartonera claims to be “the only company in Latin America with four extrusion lines producing corrugated plastic and able to produce undulated fluted laminate in S form.”