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Flexible Packaging Group Inaugurates Its 10th Operation In Las Piedras


April 5, 2001
Copyright © 2001 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Flexible Packaging Group today inaugurates its tenth manufacturing facility on the island, a $9 million paper division in Las Piedras to manufacture cushion packaging, paper conversion, foam conversion, and wood products, said Carlos A. Casellas, president of Flexible Packaging Group.

"Our Las Piedras packaging facility is a sister plant to our Rincon operation. About 120 employees manufacture products such as die-cut boxes, trays, bins, partitions, and D- & E-containers. From this plant we will continue implementing our resident supplier and materials handler programs for half a dozen of our clients, helping them reduce inventory and warehousing space needs," said Casellas.

Flexible Packaging Group celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The company has close to $30 million invested in equipment, machinery, real estate in nine facilities–six packaging plants and one distribution facility in Puerto Rico; one manufacturing plant in Costa Rica; and another one in the Dominican Republic.

"In three years, we have invested close to $25 million in new equipment and facilities, including $4.5 million to purchase manufacturing plants outside Puerto Rico. In the next 24 to 30 months we plan to invest an additional $10 million in new acquisitions in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica," said Casellas.

The company’s vision is to continue expanding and improving its one-stop packaging solution services. Towards this end, Casellas named Luis Rivas, a 30-year veteran of Puerto Rico’s manufacturing industry, as CEO and vice president of Operations for Flexible Packaging Group.

"Flexible Packaging Group’s growth is similar to that of stateside packaging companies. We are the only company in Puerto Rico’s packaging industry that offers companies the amount and variety of systems. This is due to the quality and capability of our personnel, which includes mechanical, electrical, industrial, and chemical engineers who work together in the design of new techniques," said Rivas.

Casellas’ son Charlie, a packaging engineering graduate from Rochester University, is vice president of the company and plant manager of Packaging Solutions, one of four production plants in Bayamon.

"We expect to end fiscal year 2001 sales [ending in Sept.] with $40 million. This is an 11% growth from $36 million sales for 2000 and 18% over 1999’s $34 million. Though our growth has not been as vigorous in the past three years due to our aggressive capital investments program, in five years our sales should have increased more than 40%, between $55 million and $60 million," said Casellas Jr.

Casellas feels confident about the medical devices, pharmaceutical and electronic products industries in Puerto Rico. He is also watching closely for the growth boom he thinks there will be in the food and construction industries for the packaging industry.

"Industries such as medical devices, pharmaceutical, and electronics have investment large amounts of money and resources in the island, and are the least likely to leave. Our capability to serve these industries is unparalled by any other company locally.

I believe that the food and construction industry will be our next challenge, and one in which we are preparing ourselves. The food industry is looking more and more to plastics as the best and safest way to market products. Flexible Packaging Group is also developing a new building material component that will revolutionize the industry, both in cost and adaptability to Puerto Rico’s climate," said Casellas.

In 1976, Carlos A. Casellas established Flexible Packaging Group in a garage in Aguas Buenas. Today, the company employs more than 300 in eight facilities in Puerto Rico (four plants in Bayamon and one each in Rincon, Aguadilla, Salinas, and Las Piedras), plus the Costa Rica and Dominican Republic operations.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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