Sigma Plastics Group, already the world's largest stretch film maker, is expanding those operations to Thailand through a new joint venture.
The Pompano Beach, Florida-based company is teaming with King Pac Industrial Co. Ltd. to build and operate a plant near Bangkok that's expected to begin manufacturing by the end of next year.
The 100,000-square-foot facility brings together the Teo family behind Sigma and the Julasaksrisakul family behind King Pac.
"Everybody uses stretch film. If you are shipping goods, you need to wrap it to secure the load," Sigma Chief Operating Officer Mark Teo said. "Given that we are the largest stretch film manufacturer in the world ... we felt it would be a natural fit to bring to that region of the world."
Expanding to the other side of the world, Teo said, requires trust on both sides of the joint venture.
"Our reluctance has always been about finding the right partners. We always felt that being a half a world away, you better have people operationally on a day-to-day basis that you can see eye-to-eye with and that you can trust and that is their family," Teo said.
A total of five of Sigma's 42 current locations are stretch film plants, including sites in Lyndhurst, N.J., Shelbyville, Ky., Tulsa, Okla., Riverside, Calif., and Belleville, Ontario. Total capacity is 550 million pounds.
The Teo and Julasaksrisakul families met about a year ago after being introduced by Teo relatives who are investment bankers in Asia.
"They felt we should just meet each other because we are in the same industry," Teo said. And as the families got to know each other, they decided to eventually form the joint venture.
Teo will serve as a managing director of the new operation, called Sigma Stretch Film of Asia, along with Paiboon Julasaksrisakul, who is vice president of King Pac.
King Pac calls itself the largest industrial bag maker in Asia and produces more than 220 million pounds of finished goods each year. Products include retail, zip and food bags as well as can liners and sheeting. Sigma is the largest privately owned film extrusion company in North America.
The new plant is being built on 12 acres near Bangkok owned by the Julasaksrisakul family.
"They are just the type of people we want to partner with," Teo said.
The new facility will serve customers in Southeast Asia and Australia, an attractive area for Sigma. "If you look at the emerging economies and how fast they are growing and the production that's going to take place in that region, if you ship goods, you have to wrap them," Teo said.
King Pac was founded by Seree Julasaksrisakul in 1976, and Sigma was founded by Alfred Teo in 1978.