Alatech Health Care L.L.C. isn't looking to make a lot of noise in the marketplace.
In fact, status quo would be just fine.
The Slocomb, Ala.-based condom maker currently has a distinct advantage over its competition: a contract to produce condoms for the U.S. government's Aid for International Development program.
The condoms are distributed to underdeveloped countries.
Without the contract, the company could be dealing with more difficult times, said Russell Culp, technical director for Alatech.
There's actually only two manufacturers still producing condoms in the U.S.-Alatech and Church & Dwight Co. Inc.-according to Culp.
``To my knowledge, no one else makes condoms here,'' he said. ``And no natural rubber gloves are made here.''
``We stay pretty level,'' he said at the International Latex Conference. ``We do some private label business, and it would be nice to see that grow, but mostly we produce condoms for the government'' at the company's dipping plant in Eufaula, Ala.
Presently, however, like most manufacturers in the U.S., offshore competition is a serious threat for the company, as are skyrocketing energy and raw material prices.
To offset both, ``we rely heavily on our technology and efficiency,'' Culp said. ``Our research and development side has produced better products for less.''
Eventually, the energy and raw material situation should level off, but the overseas production threat just doesn't seem to go away, he said.
The large government condom contract, however, keeps Alatech solvent, as does the firm's innovation, he said.
The technical director is looking to come up with more specialty offerings in the future to expand the company's product range.
But it probably will be awhile before any will become a reality.