Polykar pays for new factory to double sales

PHOTO DAVID BOILY, ARCHIVES THE PRESS Amir Karim, President, Chief Executive Officer and Majority Shareholder of Polykar

Already the largest manufacturer of bags and plastic wrap in Quebec, Polykar is aiming for 100 million sales by building a new plant in Alberta that will double its production. Despite the bad reputation of plastic, the packaging industry is increasing its sales by “5 to 6% a year”.

Polykar acquired a 130,000 square foot lot in Edmonton in an industrial park near the airport called Discovery Business Park. The first shovel of earth is planned for “next spring or summer” and the start-up, “early in 2021,” says at the end of the line the president, CEO and majority shareholder of the company, Amir Karim.

In all, the project is estimated at $ 20 million. It will create forty jobs.

“It is certain that the goal is to gain market share. Our strategic plan is to double our sales in five years. That would bring us 50 to 100 million.” Amir Karim

The new plant will produce the same products as its big sister in Montreal (in the borough of Saint-Laurent), that is to say, various bags and types of plastic film intended for industries, businesses (hotels, restaurants, offices) and the agri-food sector. They use it mainly for garbage, but also for packing bread, frozen vegetables, garden soil, mattresses, sofas, etc.

Polykar also manufactures small thin bags distributed in grocery stores for fruits and vegetables, biodegradable bags (10% of sales) and bags made from 100% recycled material (recovered from other plastic factories).

The company is little known to the general public because it does not sell its products to consumers, but plans to do so once its Alberta plant is inaugurated.

Why Alberta?

The choice of Alberta has two advantages, says Amir Karim. As the province is one of the largest plastic resin manufacturers in North America, Polykar will be closer to its suppliers. And since about 30% of sales are made in Western Canada, its transportation costs will be reduced.

Unknown: plastic bags (polyethylene) used in North America are made from natural gas, not oil as is the case in Europe and Asia, says Amir Karim. In 2018, Alberta produced “no less than 69% of the marketable natural gas” in the country, according to Natural Resources Canada.

Polykar’s current facilities in the borough of Saint-Laurent, employing 113 people, could no longer grow.

“We have already done it twice, and there is no room left.” Amir Karim

Plus, they’re already running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. “It’s typical in our industry that it works 24/7 because shutdowns and starts are very expensive and time-consuming. “

The Edmonton plant will allow the family business founded in 1987 to increase its annual production capacity by 15,000 tonnes.

Despite the bad press that plastic is the object and the ban on distributing thin bags that extends, the “reality is that we need more and more packaging as the population grows and our needs change, “says Amir Karim while acknowledging that” there is a stake to treat post-use plastic. “

According to the businessman, “the file is more emotional than objective” at the moment, but he says “convinced that science and facts will prevail” and that the more efficient resins will promote the image of plastic .

He argues that plastic, especially in the food industry, is necessary for food safety and preservation. He allows us, he gives as an example, to export our pork to the other side of the world.

“We are able to manufacture here in Quebec and to be competitive in the world. Moreover, you will see very few bags imported from China, “rejoices Amir Karim, who became president of Polykar in 2018 when his parents (the co-founders) transferred him control.

The Canadian plastics industry in brief

  • 82,000 employees
  • 2,600 businesses
  • Net income of $ 2.2 billion

Source: Statistics Canada

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