A.Schulman invests in Brazil

A.Schulman invests in Brazil
A. Schulman is following up big gains in sales and profit with plans to add a new extrusion line at its plant in Brazil.

The line will be in place by November and will increase the site’s overall annual production capacity by 8 million to 10 million pounds, officials with Fairlawn, Ohio-based Schulman said in an April 13 news release. The new line -- the site’s fourth overall -- will be used to make additive concentrates and compounds based on engineering resins.

In the release, Schulman Americas general manager and chief operating officer Gustavo Perez said that the new line is needed because of “the robust Brazilian market” and that market’s demand for materials in consumer goods, transportation and food, medical and pharmaceutical packaging.

Schulman acquired the plant in its purchase of Mash Compostos Plasticos last year. Perez added that Schulman “is pleased with the success of the Mash acquisition, and we plan to continue to grow our presence in South America.”

Schulman announced the capacity addition shortly after releasing its financial results for the second quarter and first half of its 2011 fiscal year, which ended Feb. 28. For the half, Schulman’s sales grew almost 45 percent to just over $1 billion vs. the same period in fiscal 2010. First-half profit also jumped more than 60 percent to almost $17 million in the same comparison.

In the second quarter alone, Schulman posted sales growth of more than 50 percent. Profit for the quarter checked in at just over $7 million vs. a loss of almost $7 million in the same quarter in fiscal 2010.

In a news release, Schulman Chairman, President and CEO Joseph Gingo chalked up recent growth to “favorable volume stemming from steady improvement in customer demand, and the mix effect as we continue to focus on more profitable businesses.”

The firm has made no decision on possible job creation from the Brazilian expansion, or from a recent capacity expansion announced for Schulman’s specialty powders plant in China, Texas, spokesperson Jennifer Beeman said in an April 14 phone interview. New capacity is expected to be online in Texas by early 2012, but Beeman said Schulman has yet to determine how many new lines will be installed there.

Beeman added that a potential agreement under which Schulman would lease a 6,000 square-foot building in Akron, Ohio, to Australian biopolymer products maker Plantic Technologies Ltd. has not been finalized. A recent news release from the Ohio Department of Development had indicated the Schulman/Plantic deal was completed, and that Plantic would invest almost $5 million and create 15 jobs at the site.