Lebanese industrial conglomerate Indevco Group is boosting investment in its first U.S. plastics packaging factory to $20 million, from an earlier plan of $13 million, and actively scouting acquisition opportunities in the United States.
The Ajaltoun, Lebanon-based firm is expanding its Longview, Texas, blown film extrusion plant because of growth in the petrochemical industry in the United States, including expected growth in resin exports from low-cost shale gas feedstocks.
The company supplies plastics film used to ship resin.
"The key factor in the investment is to support the polyethylene resin expansion in North America and the subsequent export resin growth," said Robert Laird, executive vice president of operations for the Longview-based Indevco Plastics subsidiary. "That's why we invested more money."
The company is adding a fifth blown film extrusion line at the facility this year, from German equipment maker Windmöller & Hölscher KG, along with more bag making machinery and a printing press.
In 2015 the company had committed to local economic development officials that it would invest $13.2 million in Longview by 2018. But Laird said that figure is now likely to be "in the neighborhood of a $20 million investment over three years."
He declined to disclose production capacity in Longview but said the plant employs 60 and has room to expand.
Laird said Lebanese parent company Indevco Group is looking at acquisitions in the flexible packaging sector in the United States.
"We are keen to make some acquisitions to grow the company in North America, the U.S. part of North America," Laird said. "We are actively looking at acquisition candidates.
"I would categorize it as expanding in the flexible packaging business," including additional extrusion, bag making and printing, he said.
Indevco Group has paper packaging operations in the United States and large flexible plastics packaging and consumer products manufacturing in the Middle East. But Longview is its first U.S. plastics packaging manufacturing.
The company has 55 manufacturing plants worldwide. It previously had a joint venture in South Carolina with Exopack Holding Co. to import plastic film but that partnership has ended, Laird said.
The company supplies both tubular form-fill-and-seal packaging and stretch hood packaging, which is similar to stretch wrap but provides more of a hood shape over pallets of resin bags. That business has been growing, the company said.
"It's picking up a lot of momentum here in the U.S. for resin packaged in 25 kilogram bags for export," he said.
In Longview, the company makes both traditional FFS packaging and "back-seam FFS," which it said allows for more downgauging. Laird said that technology was developed with Windmöller & Hölscher.