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Investors need $21 million, ask Calexico council for help

January 09, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Japanese investors looking for financing here Tuesday divulged a few specifics of their fiscal backing to city officials at a noontime meeting and later before the city Redevelopment Agency board.

The investors incorporated Cal-X-Pac International in Palos Verdes two years ago.

The privately held company is trying to find financing to build a unique manufacturing plant that grinds agave plant clippings into paper products and powder for cosmetics.

Juan Ruffin, vice president of Palos Verdes-based Cal-X-Pac, explained why his company needs Calexico's help before anything will be built on acreage near the proposed Calexico International Center in the northwest part of town.

Cal-X-Pac officials said the land is in escrow.

Ruffin said the Japanese investors who constitute the core of Cal-X-Pac are putting up $3 million to $4 million of their own money.


According to cost estimates shared with city officials on Tuesday, that leaves Cal-X-Pac about $51 million shy of its phase 1 budget.

To bridge that gap, Ruffin said Cal-X-Pac has lined up $30 million in financing from a London-based source. He wouldn't discuss further specifics of the source.

To scrap together $21 million, Cal-X-Pac will apply for state and federal grants using the city's name.

During Tuesday's Redevelopment Agency meeting, the board gave direction to city staffers to work with Cal-X-Pac on writing grants.

If the grants require the city to put up matching funds, the RDA board will consider the dollar amount before signing off.

Ramon Ruiz, another Cal-X-Pac vice president, said the proposed agave manufacturing center could provide a significant boost to the local economy.

He said local farmers could become millionaires growing agave plants that would only need 5,000 gallons of water per acre per year.

It takes two years for an agave plant to mature enough for clipping.

Ruiz said the agave varieties that Cal-X-Pac would pay farmers to grow would be tequila producing but the company wouldn't harvest it for that reason.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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