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Plastic Not so Fantastic

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VICTORIA, Austrlia, March 19, 2013 — Victorian manufacturer the Starmaid Group has been placed in receivership in another blow to the manufacturing sector.

Starmaid manufactures and wholesales storage products and uses premium food-grade materials to manufacture more than 500 plastic houseware and professional products across 50 brands, including Fresh Seal, Clea and Hobbibox.

The manufacturer turned over $25 million last year. PPB Advisory has been appointed as receivers and managers over Starmaid Group, Starmaid Housewares and Star Maid International.

PPB Advisory is calling for expressions of interest in the business.

SmartCompany contacted PPB Advisory but no comment was available prior to publication.

Michael McLean, chief performance officer at manufacturing advisory firm Manufacturship, told SmartCompany the strong Australian dollar meant plastics manufacturers have to cope with cheaper imports.

"We have a strong economy, we have 3.1% economic growth and our strong dollar means we are one of the few nations with AAA credit rating," he says.

"We have to get over that. It is a strong dollar and that is the way it is going to be."

However, McLean says the strong Australian dollar has assisted some manufacturers who create plastic products.

"A lot of the raw material for plastic products is made in Europe and, with the high dollar and with the low equity cost in interest rates, manufacturers have been able to source plastics at a cheaper price," he says.

"They have been able to access better technology in plastics machinery and get higher tolerances produced for plastics used for moulding."

McLean says plastics made in Australia are put through rigorous testing to cope with the variations in temperature.

"Our plastics in Australia are some of the best in the world as they know they have to make them very robust for the harsh ultra violet," he says.

McLean says cheaper plastics made in countries like Thailand and Taiwan can expand and contract in Australian conditions.

"Manufacturing strategy has to look at a mix of balance between product made overseas and Australian plants to offset changes in the exchange rate."

Source: smartcompany.com.au, © 2013 SmartCompany.com.au P/L - All rights reserved

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