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Vassallo Expands Products, Wins Substantial Contracts
by Lida Estela Ruano
April 13, 2000
A $15 million capital investment in the last year has launched Industrias Vassallo into another new venture while demand increases for its tried and true products. The Ponce company now sells polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pellets thanks to the installation of new technology and the completion of a new 24,000-square-foot building
The PVC pipe and fittings manufacturer was recently awarded a $12 million contract to supply 100 Home Depot stores in Florida with half-inch to four-inch PVC pipe. The company also just won a $300,000 contract to supply pipes and fittings to Venezuela. The company now also sells to the local Wal-Mart and K-Mart stores.
"Just this week we were visited by stateside representatives of True Value, the hardware chain, so we hope we can also sell to them on the mainland in the near future," said Salvador "Chiry" Vassallo, president of the company.
A $500,000 investment in the companys chemical division has allowed for greater production capacity of the PVC plastic. "The new blenders will allow us to do in two days what took us five days," Chiry Vassallo told CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. This speed will allow the company to produce excess PVC pellets for the first time. The pellets are used in the manufacture of PVC injection molding products and the excess will be sold locally and throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.
Industrias Vassallo established a strategic alliance with a German firm, Battenfield Co., where it purchased all the new machinery. The roto-molding machinery is the second largest available in the market and one of the largest used in the Western hemisphere, Vassallo said. Another new product planned is solid wall PVC pipe up to 36 inches, surpassing the worlds largest now manufactured of 27 inches.
On the personal side, the Vassallo brothers are all together again. Oldest brother, Efrain, has rejoined brothers Chiry and Felix or "Chencho." Chiry Vassallo, obviously pleased at the family reunion in business, said of Efrain, "He started in January as a consultant, coming three days a week but hes gotten so enthused hes coming in daily."
Efrain, the only Puerto Rican ever selected for National Small Businessman of the Year in 1996, served as president for many years of the company founded by their father, Salvador. It was Efrain who started the PVC pipe and fittings business that revolutionized local construction. He will be taking care of the manufacturing side of the business while youngest brother Chiry, known for his public relations expertise, will spend more time on the road, dealing with sales and new projects. Chirys son Rafael, a lawyer, will continue as general manager of the family-owned business.
Industrias Vassallo occupies nine buildings totaling 350,000 square feet on a 100-acre site valued in excess of $75 million, just off the Luis A. Ferre Expressway on the outskirts of Ponce. This fiscal year is forecasted to end in June with $52 million in sales, of which about 35% will be exports. This surpasses last years figures of $47 million vannual sales, of which 27% to 30% were exports. Although the company makes many PVC products including pots, chairs and tables, 70% of sales are its core product, PVC pipes and fittings.