Israeli housewares major Keter Plastics is investing $36 million in a manufacturing plant in New Mexico.
The firm is renovating and expanding an existing facility in Belen that will house up to 175 workers, announced New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez in a Jan. 12 news release.
The announcement came less than six months after Keter's founding family sold a majority stake in Keter to a London-based private equity firm and a Canadian pension investment fund in a deal reported in the Israeli media as worth $1.3 billion.
“We are proud to be making a long-term investment in New Mexico by placing our newest manufacturing facility in Belen,” stated Keter COO Tony Jonas. “New Mexico's business-friendly climate made the decision to come to New Mexico an easy one.”
New Mexico beat out California, Arizona and Nevada in landing the Keter project. The New Mexico Economic Development Department will invest up to $2 million in the project from Local Economic Development Act funds. The fund is designed to recruit new business and help existing businesses in the state. The LEDA fund has grown to $56 million from a tapped-out base during Gov. Martinez's stint, according to a news release issued by her office.
Keter is buying, renovating and expanding a former Solo Cup plant in Belen. It will construct an additional 60,000 square feet of space onto the existing 165,000-square-foot structure.
Keter Plastics is part of the Keter Group, which operates 18 factories and two distribution centers in nine countries. Among Keter Group's well-known brands are Curver and Allibert. It makes plastic furniture, garden sheds, toolboxes, housewares and a host of other consumer and recreational goods. Its annual sales exceed $1 billion.
Keter Plastics will consume some 60 to 100 tons of plastics and other materials to make 10 to 15 truckloads of patio furniture, sheds and similar products per day, New Mexico officials estimated. Major retailers like Home Depot are Keter clients.
“Keter found an ideal location using Belen's best rail infrastructure, nestling themselves among Belen's other national and international manufacturers,” stated Belen Mayor Jerah Cordova.
Belen is near the geographic center of New Mexico about 35 miles south of Albuquerque. It is a major transportation hub with access to rail, the interstate highway and an airport.
Keter claims to supply all of the top 250 retailers worldwide, amounting to some 25,000 retail outlets.
Keter's New Mexico project is the second major housewares investment in the United States revealed this month. Earlier in January Sterilite Corp.'s proposal to build a $73 million housewares factory and distribution center in Davenport, Iowa, came to light.
In another strategic move in the plastic consumer products sector, Newell Brands Inc. said a month ago that it is expanding into the Southern Hemisphere by acquiring Sistema Plastics, which recently built a highly automated injection molding plant in Auckland, New Zealand. Meanwhile, Newell is looking for a buyer for its food containers business to exit the hyper-competitive market for the plastic products.