Alpla buys Wisconsin HDPE plant with eye on growth

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An Alpla blow moulding bottle plant

Plastic packaging maker Alpla Inc. is investing more than $5 million (€ 4.6 million) to acquire an existing bottle manufacturing plant in West Bend, Wis.

The Austria-based company, with 160 locations in 43 countries, purchased the former Gehl Foods bottle manufacturing plant from private equity firm Wind Point Partners of Chicago.

Wind Point acquired Gehl Foods, known for making shelf-stable dairy-based products, about two years ago. Gehl makes a variety of products, including pudding, yogurt and dairy-based beverages, but might be best known for its cheese sauces.

In buying the food company, Wind Point ultimately decided to divest Gehl's high density polyethylene bottle-making site.

The blow molding facility has the capability to make bottles ranging in size from 4 to 16 ounces, according to Gehl's website.

Gehl also distributes its products in pouches as well as dispenser-ready bags with fitments that are often used in convenience stores for its nachos and cheese line of products.

Tom Jablonsky, vice president of manufacturing for Alpla in North America, could not be reached for comment. But he said in a local news report that the company is looking to grow the bottle-making business both locally and regionally.

The sale price was $5.43 million (€4.85 million), according to a special warranty deal filed with the state of Wisconsin.

Wind Point has other investments in the plastics industry. In early June, it acquired Reinier Plastics of Marieville, Quebec, a move that increases its PVC compounding business through its Aurora Plastics business.

The private investment firm also owns stretch film maker Paragon Films Inc. and sold off its majority interest in plastic bag maker Novolex last year.

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