SÃO PAULO — Auxiliary equipment producer Conair Group is in talks with potential Brazilian partners to start manufacturing in the country, after beefing up its commercial operations there in the last two years, a senior executive said at the Feiplastic 2015 trade show.
“We are currently working with different potential partners here, it is a continuous effort,” said Bill Hricsina, international business manager. “I would like to have something fully operational before the next Feiplastic [in 2017], where I have parts, service, sales and some manufacturing down here.”
The Cranberry Township, Pa.-based manufacturer has sold machinery in Brazil since 1976. It briefly produced machinery in Brazil in the 1970s with local partners, but an unstable economy caused Conair to pull out.
The company also said at the last Feiplastic show in 2013 that it was evaluating Brazil for a production facility, but Hricsina said at this year's show, held May 4-8 in São Paulo, that since then it has strengthened its commercial structure in the country and appointed new sales representatives.
Hricsina believes that an announcement of local manufacturing could come as soon as this year.
“Brazil is still a favorable marketplace for us to look at, one of the largest in South America, so we want to be here,” he said. “Our customers are here and they want us to have manufacturing they can take part in with the lower finance rates.”
Brazilian plastics processors that buy locally produced equipment are able to apply for low-interest financing from Brazil's National Development Bank (BNDES).
Despite the slowdown in Brazil's economy through 2014 and an expected recession this year, Hricsina said Conair sales grow in the country year after year, but they're still not as high as the company believes it can achieve.
“Until I have my operation set up, it is not going to get to that point either,” said Hricsina, who declined to offer annual sales figures.
At twice the size of the Mexican market, Brazil is important to Conair in Latin America, Hricsina said. Conair also is evaluating opening support offices in Colombia.
Conair currently has manufacturing facilities in the U.S., China and India. The company makes and markets more than 450 different products, including resin-drying systems, blenders, feeders and material-conveying systems, temperature-control equipment and granulators, extrusion solutions and plastics process integration.