SHELTON, Conn.—Latex Foam International L.L.C. plans to build a plant in Malaysia to support its growing latex sleep products business globally.
The company, which operates in the marketplace as Latex International, broke ground on the facility in mid-June.
The Dunlop Latex Foam (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd. factory will span about 251,000 square feet and is expected to begin operating in the summer of 2011. It's located in the Mukum Senai-Kulai, Daerah Johor Bahru region of Ma-laysia, the company said.
Financial details of the project weren't released. The facility primarily will support the firm's growing business in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
“This is a major step in our company's expansion,” according to President and CEO Kevin Coleman. “We are building a worldwide infrastructure to support the growth we are experiencing. With the North American market headwinds that we have seen over the past two years, the company has focused on new opportunities internationally.”
Once constructed, the plant will be valued at about $25 million versus the cost to build it, said Kevin Stein, vice president for marketing and research and development. He said an estimated 75 to 100 workers will staff the factory, where the firm will produce both Talalay and molded Dunlop process latex.
Shelton-headquartered Latex International, North Am-erica's leading manufacturer of Talalay latex mattresses and pillows, established sales and service operations in South America, Europe and Asia during the last two years, Coleman said, “and our sales to markets outside the U.S. have grown to over 25 percent of our total revenue.”
The Malaysian facility is needed to not only serve the needs of customers from a latex production perspective, Coleman said, but in terms of prompt service and delivery. Pouring Talalay latex in Southeast Asia makes it easier to quickly fill mattress manufacturers' needs in shorter lead times.
The site was selected because of its foreign direct investment program, solid infrastructure and access to highways and ports, its proximity to raw materials, and the availability of a skilled work force, the firm said.
It features an eco-friendly design that includes its own waste water treatment plant, which recycles water for product purity washing, the company said, along with a power management system and high efficiency equipment.
Production capacity of the factory easily will support Latex International's future growth plans, Coleman said.
“As the use of Talalay latex for mattress comfort layers continues to increase,” he said, “we will be able to produce over 200,000 (mattress) cores and 500,000 additional pillows. We will also be able to offer our own Dunlop process support cores in various formulas, including 100-percent natural latex.”
This is the second major move made by Latex International in less than two years. On Sept. 11, 2008, subsidiary Latex Foam Assets Acquisition L.L.C. purchased the latex foam production assets of Dunlop Latex Foam Ltd. in England.