A fast-growing flexible packaging company is attracting a new investor that will allow for even more expansion.
Indevco Plastics Inc. is taking an undisclosed equity stake in ePac Holdings LLC, which is establishing a network of flexible packaging plants around the country based on digital printing.
Indevco Plastics, a subsidiary of Indevco Group of Ajaltoun, Lebanon, operates a blown film extrusion plant in Longview, Texas.
Earlier this year Robert Laird, executive vice president of operations at Indevco Plastics, said his company was keen on growing in the United States and North America. And now comes news of a partnership with ePac.
"We presently have five plants in various stages of completion and we'll probably have a sixth before the end of the year," said Carl Joachim, chief marketing officer and a co-founder at ePac.
The Indevco investment "really just gives us some added breathing room and some added capital upon which to exercise our growth strategy," Joachim said.
His company wants to have a network of 15 locations established around the country by the end of 2019, and anticipates adding about five new facilities in 2018 as ePac continues to grow.
EPac currently has plants in Middleton, Wis., and Boulder, Colo., and has plans for additional sites in Houston, Miami and Los Angeles.
Joachim joined together with Jack Knott and Virag Patel, both of Arion Partners LLC, to form ePac. Laird has known both Knott and Patel for more than a decade, including time all three spent with Coveris Holdings, a flexible and rigid plastic packaging company.
"I just think it's a terrific business. It's well thought out. It just has strong leadership behind it and market experience," Laird said about ePac.
"It's really just another logical step in our growth strategy in North America," he said about Indevco Plastics. "We are looking for opportunities to partner with people, make acquisitions, really deliberately grow our position here in North America with good decisions."
EPac is using digital printing as the backbone for its network of flexible packaging sites, which focus on short-to-medium run orders.
Segmentation of the market, with more specialized products, is creating more demand for shorter packaging print runs that can use digital printing effectively.
The company supports new locations by first starting to service those markets from existing facilities, building cliental that will provide a base for the new facility, when opened, to already have an established list of customers.
"I've been in the flexible packaging business for over 20 years ... and I've seen a definite progression toward more SKUs. With more SKUs, we have a tendency to have more items that require medium-to-short run annual qualities. We see the technology behind the digital printing is such that it allows companies to purchase volumes that they require. In the past, small companies would have to overbuy," Laird said.
While food is an obvious market for digitally printed flexible packaging, Laird sees the potential for much more.
"You would be amazed. There's a lot of markets and a lot of companies looking for this type of technology," he said.
Terms of the investment were not disclosed, but Joachim did indicate Indevco has a minority state in ePac.