Young bags processor has very big plans

December 18, 2009

Anduro Mfg. is a new name in the BOPP/PP packaging market, but the company’s lightning-fast entry into that arena is proving successful as it already looks toward adding a second facility.

Still relatively new to the bioriented polypropylene/polypropylene (BOPP/PP) bag market, Anduro Mfg. was formed just over two years ago by an investment group headed by Henry Datelle of Atlanta, GA. New to the market or not, its vision is to position itself as the largest BOPP/PP bag producer of any company outside China, and to become the world’s largest fully integrated BOPP/PP packaging manufacturer.

From its facility in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, Anduro manufactures its Durofab-brand BOPP/PP bags, which it says offer very high quality, for U.S. customers. Marc Datelle, son of Henry Datelle and president of Anduro, said in an interview at Pack Expo (Oct. 5-7) in Las Vegas that Anduro “focused on this product category for the past year and saw not only tremendous potential for growth but also a rapidly increasing demand for high-quality, dependable packaging, which we are providing to the market exclusively via the Durofab brand.”

The Datelles were experienced investors in various business ventures, with Anduro the latest of these. “We were looking for an investment opportunity in packaging, and we chose this because of the growth potential that we saw in this particular niche,” said the younger Datelle. “It also appeared to be a solid business, with good locations, representing a well-rounded opportunity.”

He noted that while most of the current supply of BOPP/PP bags were imported to North America from China, the high tariffs, long supply chain, quality, and other factors weighing on goods coming from that distance have coalesced as an opportunity for his company. “We focused on Central America as a manufacturing site because of its advantageous location in terms of serving U.S. customers,” explained Datelle. “The company we identified was in Honduras, owned by an American couple from Denver, and it had manufacturing capacity and good people, but needed additional financing to grow and take it to the next level.”

The Datelles bought controlling interest in the Honduran-based company last July, and found that manufacturing the bags in Honduras was cost competitive to China and India; plus, the quality was excellent, they say. Additionally, the proximity to shipping ports in the U.S. meant that shipments could be made quickly. With demand growing for the Durofab bags, shipping time is critical. “It’s a much shorter supply chain from Honduras to the U.S. than from China to the U.S.,” said Henry Datelle. “We can ship in two days from Honduras to Gulfport, MS.”

With the purchase of the Honduran facility, the Anduro executive team moved immediately to add the processes and organizational elements required to deliver what Datelle says is the industry’s most reliable service to U.S. customers. The 150,000-ft2 plant in Honduras converts the bags from a woven PP fabric. That fabric is then laminated to a printed BOPP top layer, and sewn to create open-mouth bags suitable for various dry goods such as birdseed, dog food, and other bulk food products. The BOPP/PP bags are lighter to ship and cost up to 60% less than paper ones. “We can get 6000 bags per pallet vs. 2000 per pallet of paper bags,” Datelle said.

Because of high demand for its BOPP/PP bags, the company is planning to expand operations to Costa Rica, where it is currently in negotiations for an 80,000- to 100,000-ft2 building in that country, said Datelle.

Anduro’s current capacity, which it says already is the largest outside China, offers food product producers a distinct advantage over other BOPP/PP manufacturers in terms of speed of delivery. “By manufacturing in the Americas, the company delivers quality to U.S. businesses, not only substantially faster than companies relying on China BOPP/PP packaging, but at lower total costs with much more to offer in terms of overall value,” said Datelle.

Anduro management is pursuing plans to add the equipment and staff to give it the world’s largest BOPP/PP production capacity, as well as the machinery required for full back integration. “Currently we buy the PP fabric, but we will very soon have the capability to manufacture most of the fabric we require in Honduras,” stated Datelle. “We’ll buy the resin and extrude the PP yarn for the woven material layer, and do all our own rotogravure plating and printing of the bags in-house.”

Datelle seems to be enjoying the new business venture, even though it’s very different from the other types of businesses in which he has been involved, including Cypress Care, a pharmacy benefit management company the Datelles founded and operated, growing revenues to $100 million in just five years.

“What’s fascinating to me about this business [of manufacturing] is that it’s global,” said Datelle. “To see our Durofab bags at Wal-Mart with birdseed or other products in them, and know that they were produced using materials from all over the world and manufactured in another country, is a great feeling.” Clare Goldsberry

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