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Packaging: Brazil continues push into U.S.

Chicago—Brazilian firms Packtec Flexible Packaging (Valinhos) and Union Pack (Barracão) typify the continued growth among packaging manufacturers in the South American country, which are increasingly looking beyond its shores for new business. Exhibiting as part of the Brazilian Plastic Institute’s Export Plastic Program at Pack Expo, the companies are part of a group of more than 100 Brazilian plastic processors that saw their plastic exports increase by 5% in 2007, while the country as a whole saw exports decrease by 1%.

André Marzall, market-development specialist flexible packaging for the group, told MPW that 13 members of the program, which started in 2003, traveled to Chicago for PackExpo. Marzall says for its members, the average amount of production that’s exported ranges from 1-15% but can go as high as 35%. “The economy keeps growing in spite of the financial crisis, but Brazilian companies know that they have to be international,” he psaid.

Brazil’s plastics industry, which also includes a rapidly expanding resin production capability, ranks it among the 10 largest in the world, Marzall says, and includes 11,500 companies.

Union Pack, which coextrudes three-layer films from polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyethylene terephthalate for heavy-duty bags, generates about 10% of its business from exports, according to Gustavo Zanuz, of the company’s export department. The company began exporting in 2004, and in 2008 expects that exports will increase 15% over 2007. At this point, Zanuz says the U.K. receives the bulk of its exports, followed by the U.S., and Latin America. The company operates one 3-layer coextruder, 4 monolayer lines, three flexographic printers, two laminators, three slitters, and 10 bag converters, with plans to buy another 3-layer coextruder within the year. Shipping time is on Brazil’s side, according to Zanuz, who says ships leaving from the nearest port reach New York in 14 days compared to 2-3 weeks for China. For new projects, where artwork has been approved, the leadtime to the U.S. is around eight weeks.

Stretch- and shrink-film manufacturer Packtec deals with large multinationals like Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, and Procter & Gamble in country, with exports destined for distributors. International Business Director Maria Emma de Almeida told MPW that 25% of its production volume is exported. The company runs six plants and two months ago purchased a Dolci film line that boosted stretch-film output from 3000 tonnes/month to 4500 tonnes/month.—[email protected]

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