Repi’s rising up in the US market
From Atlanta we went up north to our next appointment in North Carolina, Charlotte. There we were welcomed by Giuseppe Lombardo, Commercial Director for Thermoplastics at Repi LLC, who is developing the US Thermoplastics business for Repi. The entrance hall of this new 45,000 square feet big factory is a remake of the Italian Headquarters, a special tribute to US customers.
Repi entered the American market with sales activity through a distributor back in the 90’s with products dedicated to the polyurethane industries. The business activity grew rapidly and in 2003 the decision to open a wholly-owned subsidiary, namely Repi LLC was taken. This represented the first ingress into the country, followed soon after by the decision to start a production facility serving US customers.
In 2012 Repi LLC moved to Dallas-NC becoming a full-service company, with manufacturing facilities, laboratories and offices, for both business units (thermoplastics and polyurethanes). The thermoplastics business unit has its core business in the packaging field (preforms, bottles, PET sheets, caps, etc.) as well as in industrial applications such as the building and construction industry, the furniture sector and the world of the injection moulded parts.
“Today Repi LLC has a team of around 25 people and a double digit turnover thanks to commercial activities in the Americas,” Giuseppe Lombardo told us. In 2014 Giuseppe with a 20 years’ experience in the liquid colour industry, joined Repi LLC.
“The recognition of the Repi brand in PET packaging industry worldwide helped us in the US market. But of course, we are newcomers in the continent and have to compete with already well established competitors. We have a lot of opportunities in the packaging market, which is steadily growing. Packaging design and state of the art R&D apartments are important areas for us. We are pretty proud to be able to offer to our customers not just a product, but a complete support, which begins with the identification of the specific need and results in the formulation of the required colour (which implies lab tests and sometimes R&D support) and in packaging prototyping.
A skilled technical team is available for trials on customers’ sites, start of industrial productions, training and extraordinary maintenance. This gives partners the opportunity to run special development projects, from the initial concept to final item.
From here we serve the whole North, Central and Latin American markets.”
Repi is among the top liquid colour producers in the North American market. “Additives are the segment where we see great development opportunities; it is the area where we are growing significantly. The PET colour market here is not as big as in Europe; we have a lot of clear preforms.”
“We are growing in UV blockers and anti-yellowing for the PET recycling market as a result of a high volume of enquiries.” Giuseppe spoke about the challenge of the rPET market in the US in general. Repi is part of the Napcor society in the US. “We are in close contact with them to see where the rPET market is heading.
There are concerns about volume, the collection rate and the cost. Producing rPET is a big challenge because you have to compete against virgin PET – in total it is a challenge here in North America.”
Giuseppe summarises “After more than 45 years of activity worldwide, Repi has become a leading supplier with direct presence in 5 geographical areas, but still independent and privately owned. This allows the Group to be flexible and near to the customer who feels to deal with a trustworthy partner. The future goals are challenging, but the right vision and business plan are there, so we are really excited for next results to come.”