By: Catherine Kavanaugh
December 6, 2013
PendaForm Co. is closing plants in Ohio and Indiana and laying off a total of 79 employees in the upcoming weeks and into early 2014.
The New Concord, Ohio-based holding company was created in July when Penda Corp. acquired Fabri-Form Co. The two heavy-gauge thermoformers remain wholly owned subsidiaries.
The facilities shutting down are both Fabri-Form businesses. A 60-year-old plant in Pekin, Ind., will close on or near Jan. 1, putting 37 employees out of work and leaving the town without its biggest utility customer.
Then, a 70-year-old plant in Byesville, Ohio, will stop operating on or near March 31. Forty-two workers got pink slipped, including 18 extruder operators.
FabriForm’s customer base includes heavy truck, automotive packaging, food and medical end markets while Penda, which has been around 35 years, makes accessories for the light truck market and bills itself as the largest Tier 1 supplier for thermoformed automotive components.
Lani Williams, human resources director for PendaForm, said the company declined to comment.
In Pekin, 32 of the affected workers, including 26 operators, will be out of a job by Dec. 20 and the other five by Jan. 3, according to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. None of the workers belong to a union or have bumping rights.
In Byesville, the layoffs will begin by the second week of 2014. The employees are represented by the United Auto Workers Local 2024 and some reportedly have been offered jobs in New Concord.
Fabri-Form got its start in Byesville in 1943. The site supplied sheet stock to other manufacturing locations. The Pekin plant opened in 1953 to produce refrigerator door liners for General Electric Co. The facility later diversified into school cafeteria tote trays and other products. Much of the current manufacturing operation revolves around freight liner parts for the heavy truck industry.
PendaForm CEO Jack Slinger had said in July there would be no changes to how business transactions are handled with customers or vendors.
The combined companies formed the “undisputed leader” in heavy-gauge thermoforming in North America with $150 million in revenue, according to a joint statement from the private equity firms of Resiliance Capital Partners and Littlejohn & Co., which first had Penda as a portfolio company.