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Ameron closing 1 plant, adding to other

PASADENA, CALIF. — Ameron International Corp. plans to close the doors of its Spartanburg, S.C., fiberglass pipe plant in June while expanding operations at its Burkburnett, Texas, facility. Ameron announced the move May 1.

Filament winding equipment from Spartanburg will be moved to the Burkburnett plant, said Gary Wagner, chief financial officer. Pasadena-based Ameron is offering jobs at the Texas facility to the 20 employees in Spartanburg, Wagner said, adding that he does not know how many people will accept the offer.

``We expect to have less employees'' after the move, he said.

About 250 people work at the Burkburnett plant.

The move will improve efficiency and ``reduce the overhead associated with several of our fiberglass pipe product lines,'' said James S. Marlen, chairman, president and chief executive officer. Ameron also makes fiberglass pipe in Mineral Wells, Texas; Singapore; and Geldermalsen, the Netherlands.

Fiberglass pipe products accounted for $104 million of Ameron's total sales of $497 million for the year ended Nov. 30.

The firm, which employs 2,800, also makes concrete and steel pipe systems, coatings and other construction products.

Indebted Empire finds new investors

DELRAY BEACH, FLA.—Toy producer Empire of Carolina Inc. said a group has agreed to invest as much as $16 million for new, convertible preferred stock in the Delray Beach-based firm.

Empire said HPA Associates LLC and EMP Associates LLC, both private investor groups, signed a definitive securities purchase agreement to buy the stock, and agreed to provide a $5 million bridge loan. Empire said the principals of HPA, Charles S. Holmes and James J. Pinto, have ``substantial experience with investments in publicly traded companies.'' Holmes will provide Empire with managerial and operational support to continue the turnaround of Empire's Tarboro, N.C., plant.

Empire also said its Tarboro toy molding and assembly facility showed improvement in March by bettering targets on manufacturing costs per unit. Geller said pending performance reports from April should show similar improvement. Last year, Tarboro overran per-unit production cost targets by $19 million.

The new investors will buy $11 million of new convertible stock by June 5. Empire might issue an additional $5 million in convertible stock within 180 days after that date.

Empire recently received a deadline extension to May 31 to come up with $6 million owed under a senior loan agreement. It noted there is no guarantee it will consummate its new deal with the investor groups, and if it does not, there is no assurance that it will be able to raise $6 million by May 31.

A previous investor deal fell through when EDT Toys LLC decided not to invest $50 million in Empire.

Intertape selects site for film plant

MONTREAL — Intertape Polymer Group Inc. has chosen Tremonton, Utah, to build a plastic film plant, the Montreal firm announced May 5.

Intertape said it will spend US$17 million on a 115,000-squarefoot facility that will make Exlfilm and Stretch Flex polyolefin films. The new plant also will be a distribution center for other products for its growing customer base in the West. Intertape executives were unavailable to provide more details.

Utah officials revealed last month that Intertape was looking at Tremonton and Ogden, Utah, as well as Phoenix for a new shrink film operation. Utah's Department of Community and Economic Development offered a $200,000 loan to Intertape as an incentive to locate in Tremonton. If Intertape employs at least 70 people there, the loan will become a grant.

Intertape produces shrink wrap and other flexible packaging, sealing tape, intermediate bulk packaging, dairy cases and other industrial handling and packaging products.

The firm had sales of C$81.5 million (US$58.7 million) and profit of C$7 million (US$5.04 million) for the quarter ended March 31. A year ago its sales and profit were C$56.2 million (US$40.5 million) and C$6.6 million (US$4.8 million).

Calnetics, Summa cancel merger plans

TORRANCE, CALIF. — Summa Industries of Torrance and Calnetics Corp. of Chatsworth, Calif., said May 7 they will terminate their merger agreement, announced Feb. 14.

Calnetics makes molded plastic bobbins, components, filters, fittings, sheet and tubing. Summa's operations include engineered plastic optical components.