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With an investment of US$8 million, Gualapack inaugurates first plant in Chile

19 April, 2018

The Italian company, a world leader in packaging solutions, also has three other production plants in the region, in Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil.

In recent years, the sophistication of Chile’s food industry has increased enormously. The country is now one of the world’s 15 largest agricultural exporters and has positioned over 50 products in all the markets it serves. This leadership attracts investment not only in food production but also in related industries such as the packaging sector.

With an investment of US$8 million, Italy’s Gualapack, a world leader in packaging solutions, has inaugurated its first plant in Chile. This is its fourth in the region after those in Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil. The inaugural ceremony, which took place in the Enea industrial park in Santiago’s Pudahuel district, was attended by Michele Guala, CEO of GualapackGroup, Salo Himmelstern, CEO of Gualapack Latam, Ian Frederick, acting director of InvestChile and Simone Balzani, first secretary of the Italian Embassy.

In Chile, the company will produce spouted pouches for food and non-food products and non-spouted pouches and, in future, caps (injection molded). At present, its clients in Chile include CarozziDos CaballosAMA-Time and Purefruit. From Santiago, it also hopes to distribute its products to strategic partners around the region as well as in Chile.

Salo Himmelstern, CEO of Gualapack Latam, said that “Gualapack’s strategy has been based on serving the market niche of packaging for food for children. We have seen this market grow so much that the Group decided to pursue its internationalization plan, expanding its presence through this plant in Chile, which positions us strategically to serve the South American market even better.”

Michele Guala, CEO of GualapackGroup, added that “since 1990, Gualapack has grown, first in Italy, then in Europe and then internationally and today is a group with sales of some US$300 million and approximately 1,700 employees that operates nine production plants and has a global presence through alliances in China and the United States. Our strategy for the coming years is based on maintaining this growth and, in this strategy, Gualapack Chile plays an important role in the American continent.”

InvestChile’s Ian Frederick recalled that conversations between the Agency and Gualapack began in 2016 when the company expressed interest in investing in Chile. Since then, the InvestChile team has participated in meetings with the company, providing it with specific information about the local market and organizing field visits. Gualapack also participated in the 2017 International Investment Forum.

“This first milestone marks the start of a new road that we hope will lead the company to expand its operations in Chile and consider new projects in which we would also like to be of help. Our country is and will continue to be a good partner for Gualapack and this plant being inaugurated today in Santiago, which joins the company’s operations in Costa Rica and Brazil, will be a decisive step in the consolidation of its production platform in the continent,” said Frederick.

The local clients of the multinational who attended the inauguration included Sebastián Pérez Cotapos, assistant manager of Food Service and Fruit Compotes at Carozzi, who pointed out that “the plant in Chile will significantly shorten delivery times, saving us all the time required for shipping, permitting much greater accuracy in quantities in accordance with our requirements and reducing costs.”

Chile’s food exports reach over US$16,000 million and it is today a business center for the production and distribution of processed foods, with over 100 multinationals operating in the country. In addition, it has a robust trade network, thanks to its 26 trade agreements, permitting privileged tariff access to a total of 64 markets that account for 86.3% of global GDP.

Photographs: Courtesy of Gualapack.