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Plastics News assistant managing editor Bill Henson reported these items from the Association of Rotational Molders spring meeting, which was held March 23-26 in San Antonio.

New compounder sets sights on rotomolders

Jerico Plastics Industries Inc., a new Akron, Ohio-based compounder, is targeting rotational molders as key customers.

The firm was incorporated at the beginning of the year and President Stephen Copeland assumed full-time responsibilities the week of March 17.

Copeland, a principal in the firm and, until recently, national sales manager for A. Schulman Inc. of Akron, partnered with a former Schulman associate, Roger King, in founding JPI.

``We decided to join forces to see what we could do in this [rotomolding] industry,'' Copeland said in an interview at ARM's spring meeting in San Antonio.

Toward that end, Copeland said he is negotiating the purchase of an Akron-area compounder he declined to identify. But, he said, the deal is expected to be completed within 45 days.

Currently JPI is supplying compounds and reprocessing plastic materials, according to Copeland, whose company employs five.

``We're in the process of developing sales representation around the country,'' he said.

Copeland plans to expand the company into the injection molding end market in the future.

JPI's initial focus will be in the areas of custom and toll compounding and industrial reprocessing.

A longer-term goal, he said, is for the company to develop its own line of speciality resin compounds.

Supplier ICO builds European business

ICO Inc. of Houston has agreed to buy Rotec Chemicals Ltd. of Rushden, England, a supplier of specialized materials for the rotational molding market in the United Kingdom, Ireland and continental Europe.

Jon Biro, ICO senior vice president and treasurer, said in a March 25 telephone interview from his Houston office that the merger is slated to become effective at the end of April. He declined to disclose terms.

ICO is a $200 million supplier of high-technology equipment, materials and services to the petrochemical, plastics, energy and steel industries. The firm first became a plastics industry supplier in 1995 when it acquired Wedco Technology Inc., whose core business is grinding plastics materials for a growing rotational molding market, among others.

Currently about $90 million of ICO's sales are plastics-related, Biro said.

In a prepared statement issued at the show, ICO Chairman Al Pacholder said the deal will strengthen the U.S. firm's position in the European rotomolding market.

The pact also will give it added production and technical capabilities.

``Our aim is to provide a pan-European sales and processing operation to meet the needs of primary producers, plastics processors and the growing rotational molding market across the continent,'' he said.

ICO employs 1,400 at 38 plants in the United States and Europe.

Rotec had 1996 sales of more than $10 million.

It employs 100 at the Rushden facility.

ARM meetings slated for England, Hawaii

In an effort to boost a growing European membership, ARM will host a conference June 1-2 in Birmingham, England.

``It's our attempt to extend our association into the European countries,'' said Carl Johnson, a member of ARM's Finance Committee and president of Chase Industries Inc.'s Redmond, Ore., Durus Division. ``We're trying to-based be a truly global organization.''

The Oak Brook, Ill., trade association said more than 400 members and guests, including attendees from 13 nations, registered for the ARM spring conference this year.The group represents 430 member firms in 59 countries.

ARM also has scheduled an international rotational molding exposition Oct. 6, RotoPlas '97, at the Inland Meeting and Exposition Center in Westmont, Ill. A spokesman said 2,000 people are expected to attend the 125-booth exhibition, part of ARM's plan to hold a trade show every other year.

In a dinner ceremony March 23, ARM honored Jack Schneider, Wedco Technology Inc.'s Maywood, Ill.-based assistant vice president of sales, with a special award for 25 years of industry and volunteer service to ARM. Presenters were Gary Reep, president of Ashland Plastics Inc. in Ashland, Ohio, and ARM's president from 1991-93; and Charles Busceme, executive vice president of Wedco, a plastics grinder and unit of ICO Inc. of Houston.

ARM also plans to hold its 1998 spring meeting March 29-April 1 in Kaanapali, Hawaii.