Italian compounder Sirmax setting up U.S. production in Indiana

Italian plastics compounder Sirmax SpA will set up a U.S. operation to supply automotive and appliance markets.

The company chose Anderson, Ind., for its Sirmax North America Inc. headquarters, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announced Jan. 15 after meeting Sirmax officials at the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“Other locations were considered, in and outside Indiana, but the professionalism showed by the people from Anderson, together with the incentives program and the strategic location for our customers were fundamental in the choice,” noted Lorenzo Ferro, new sales director for the North American business, in an email correspondence.

Ferro said Sirmax will start in Anderson with three twin-screw extrusion lines with annual capacity of 60 million pounds, mainly of polypropylene compounds. Sirmax has been supplying a few global automotive customers from its plants in Italy but U.S. production will allow it to expand its North American business. When running at its production capacity, Anderson’s annual sales should reach about $35 million, the company estimated in a news release.

An undisclosed U.S. customer signed a $20 million annual contract with Sirmax late in 2014.

“I can only tell you that it is a customer that we are already supplying in the rest of the world,” said Ferro, who previously was marketing and application development manager at Sirmax SpA.

Sirmax plans to spend $25.6 million in Anderson. A 140,000-square-foot plant is due to begin operations in October. The compounding site will employ about 50 by the year 2020. Indiana Economic Development Corp. is offering the city of Anderson $600,000 in infrastructure assistance and the city is considering additional support through property tax abatement.

Sirmax will occupy 26.3 acres of a former General Motors Corp. property. The Anderson operation will begin hiring in September.

Sirmax CEO Massimo Pavin indicated in a news release that he hopes Anderson eventually will expand its production capacity.

Sirmax, based in Cittadella, Italy, runs three production plants in that country as well as factories in Poland and Brazil. Its sales offices are in Italy, France, Spain, Germany and Poland. Global customers include Fiat Chrysler, Volkswagen, Daimler, Peugeot-Citroen, Whirlpool, Bosch, Indesit, Honeywell and Ikea. Its sales in 2014 were 160 million euros ($185.7 million). It employs about 200 in total.

Sirmax SpA was formed in 1999 by the merger of Sirte SpA and Maxplast srl. Although it specializes in PP compounds, Sirmax also works with nylon, ABS, polycarbonate, polybutylene terephthalate and other engineering resins. It claims to be the second largest PP compounder in Europe that is not integrated with a petrochemical plant.