Materials maker F&D Plastics Inc. is riding an aggressive growth wave, adding new extruders in Massachusetts and Quebec and planning to open a new plant in the Carolinas.
“We've diversified what we do,” CEO Darren Rosbury said in a phone interview. “We're now into more technical products with color and additive concentrates, as well as specialty compounding.”
Already this year, Leominster, Mass.-based F&D has added new extrusion lines at its headquarters site and at its plant in Montreal. Each of those sites will receive an additional new line by the end of the year.
The new plant will be located in the corridor between Charlotte, N.C., and Spartanburg, S.C. Rosbury said F&D “is leaning toward” a site in South Carolina. The new site is expected to open by mid-2017 with two production lines and around 15 employees.
F&D's sales have been growing about 10 percent annually in recent years and are expected to be around $25 million in 2016. Rosbury said the Canadian market “has done really well for us.” F&D had operated a plant in Lachine, Quebec, before buying materials firm Quebec Color Concentrates in nearby Montreal in 2013.
The firm's sales growth has been “very diversified,” according to Rosbury, and has included gains in packaging, automotive, medical and fibers. About 60 percent of F&D's compounds and concentrates are based on commodity resins polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene, with the remainder based on engineering resins and thermoplastic elastomers.
“We can supply companies with smaller quantities of specialty compounds,” Rosbury said. “We can do orders of 1,000 to 10,000 pounds.”
During the recession, F&D “let lower-end business go,” Rosbury explained, adding that recent double-digit sales growth “has really lifted our spirits.”
F&D's total investment in the new equipment and new site is expected to be between $1.2 million and $1.6 million. In addition to the growth moves, Rosbury said that the firm is looking to partner with other firms or make acquisitions, with a goal of doubling its sales in the next five years.
Roger Rosbury — Darren's father — founded F&D as a grinding firm in 1967. The business moved into concentrate production in 1993.