BUENA VISTA, Va.-Georgia Bonded Fibers Inc. plans to establish a plant in Malaysia for its cellulose elastomeric products. The firm has yet to decide on a location or whether it will buy an existing facility or build a new one, although company officials plan to launch the project within the next 12 months.
The current proposal calls for a plant covering about 50,000 square feet, but a cost estimate is not complete, said Controller David Dugan. ``It obviously will run in the millions of dollars.''
With liaison offices in South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, Georgia Bonded already markets its Bontex latex-impregnated wood pulp in Asia. ``This manufacturing facility will just enhance that,'' Dugan said.
The Pacific Rim represents about 15 to 20 percent of Georgia Bonded's business. The firm expects the new plant to boost its total sales 30 percent and add 60 workers to its roster of 200. Georgia Bonded's current annual sales are around $50 million, the controller said.
Company officials selected Malaysia as their new manufacturing site because it has a good infrastructure, a large English-speaking population and a business culture somewhat similar to the U.S., Dugan said.
Bontex is a specialty paper product available in sheets and rolls.
The latex gives the material additional properties such as flexibility, added strength and resistance to moisture, the firm said. It can be coated with additional materials, such as fabric, foam and vinyl.
Bontex is used in the footwear industry as part of a shoe's inner sole. Other applications include the bills of baseball caps and the liners of suitcases.
Footwear accounts for 80 percent of the Bontex business.