Already a major supplier of Brazilian stone to the U.S. market, Michelangelo of Curitiba, Paran¿Brazil, is looking to expand its presence with the investment of new machinery in its fabricating plant.

"Michelangelo has made investments in order to increase its production capacity in both the tile and slab factories," said Priscila Fleischfresser of Michelangelo. "The company is currently running two tile lines and four block cutters, all from Pedrini of Italy. The company's most recent investment has been two gangsaws, the Model Grizzly Super from BM of Italy."

According to Fleischfresser, the new machinery was purchased to bolster the company's export clientele, which comprises a substantial portion of the company's business. "Investments were made in order to assist our customers overseas," she said, adding that the equipment purchases were based on Michelangelo's business in 2000 as well as the current and forecasted demand for 2001.

With the new machinery investments, Michelangelo's production rate has increased from 25,000 square meters per month to 45,000 square meters per month. A total of 117 people are working in the company's fabricating facilities.

In addition to the factories, the company is looking to add materials to a product lineup that includes the Golden Series (Golden Star, Golden 500 and Golden Sand), Giallo Napoleone, Lavras Green, Juparana Tobacco, Juparana Classic, Beige Livea and Giallo Itabella as well as well-known materials such as Tunas Green, Blue Bahia, Brown Pearl and Bahia Brown.

Moreover, the company has also made investments in its quarries, including sites for Tunas Green, Dunas Beige, Amendoa Chocolate and Paran¿hite marble.

In addition to the U.S., Michelangelo's primary export markets are Australia, Mexico, Chile, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, the Middle East and the Far East.