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I2M turns around bankrupted plant

By: Michael Lauzon

October 29, 2013

A printing line is helping fuel the turnaround of a PVC calendering operation that went bankrupt in 2009.

Crestwood Membranes Inc., doing business as i2M, has reversed the fortunes of the former HPG International Inc. plant in Mountain Top, Pa. Crestwood bought the operation out of bankruptcy in May 2009, four months after HPG went under.

I2M has three calendering lines making PVC film and sheet for commercial roofing, swimming pool liners, geomembranes, laminates, pressure-sensitive labels, wall coverings, shower pan liners and window shade base. I2M President and CEO Christopher Hackett said in a telephone interview that the PVC processor bought a printing line in 2007 for $8 million to bring in house a step it formerly contracted out. Hackett is sole owner of i2M and its Crestwood holding company.

“We had an outside printer but it made sense to be vertically integrated,” Hackett explained. “It’s working out very well.”

I2M’s pool liners and other products rely heavily on the printing press for decoration.

I2M counts roofing membranes, the main thrust of the former HPG business, as a continuing key market and growth driver since Hackett took the helm at Mountain Top four years ago. Its roofing products typically are white to reflect sunlight and come in thicknesses of 50 to 80 mils.

Hackett said he has invested millions of dollars in the PVC film and sheet business, including a $1.8 million purchase price for the HPG assets in 2009 through proceedings in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

“We feel fortunate to get the business turned around,” Hackett said.

The company competes against much larger rivals, “so we need to use our speed and agility. We have been able to elevate quality which has enabled us to serve customers well and to attain a reasonable profit margin.”

Hackett said his firm is increasingly emphasizing product innovation and to that end it has been beefing up the technical side of i2M’s staff, now numbering 115 but soon to grow by another 10 to 13 employees. He declined to hint at what types of product innovation or markets are targeted by i2M.

I2M recently bought a 143,000-square-foot building nearby in Mountain Top to serve as a warehouse, complementing its 245,000 square feet of manufacturing space. The warehouse will add more flexibility in production and delivery, especially for the two major seasonal businesses of roofing membranes and pool liners.

I2M has doubled its sales in the four years of its existence. Hackett said i2M stands for innovation to manufacturing.