AKRON, OHIO - GenCorp is going through a change designed to shake the company's structure, portfolio, business strategy and culture to its roots. In a Feb. 16 speech in Akron, John Yasinsky, president and chief executive officer, said he is planning to divest GenCorp's aerospace and defense businesses while concentrating on its commercial businesses, which will continue to be based on and tied together by polymer technologies.
Yasinsky, who has been at Akron-based GenCorp since July, said the GenCorp's Aerojet unit, which comprises its aerospace and defense businesses, contributed $1 billion in sales and half the corporation's profit as recently as 1989, has become a drag on the company's sales and profit. The aerospace and defense businesses have lost sales and profit because of cut-backs in federal spending on military and aerospace.
Speaking before the Akron Roundtable, a business luncheon forum, Yasinsky said GenCorp's commercial business units, which include three automotive and five polymer products divisions, have seen increased sales and profit.
GenCorp Polymer Products divisions supply coated fabrics, extruded plastic and rubber products, vinyl laminates, flexible and rigid plastic film and sheet products, wall coverings, latex coatings and, through its Penn Racquet Sports Division, tennis and paddle balls.
GenCorp Automotive divisions supply automotive and truck products, including body panels made from sheet molding compounds, bushings, shocks and links, and vehicle sealing products.
In 1994, GenCorp's Aerojet unit contributed $594 million in sales and $25 million in operating profit, while its Polymer Products unit contributed $569 million in sales and $51 million in operating profit. GenCorp Automotive added $577 million in sales and $32 million in operating profit.
The corporation reported sales of $1.74 billion and, after several one-time expenses, $28 million in profit.
``We will focus on our commercial businesses, where volumes have increased 40 percent in the last two years and operating profit has increased 54 percent in the last two years,'' Yasinsky said.
He said he is focusing GenCorp on business segments that will provide high values to its investors, citing GenCorp's vehicle sealing, vibration control, contact wall coverings, designed plastics and structural polymers divisions as business segments.
Yasinsky said GenCorp had been disappointed by its reinforced plastics division for the automotive industry, and that division is changing its focus. The division makes SMC products at facilities in Shelbyville, Ind., and Ionia, Mich.
GenCorp has moved additional work into the Shelbyville plant, which was built exclusively to supply body panels for General Motors Corp.'s minivans, Yasinsky said. While it continues to make products for the A-van, the Shelbyville plant now also makes products for GM's F-car platforms and its Corvette, he said.
GenCorp is restructuring its Ionia facility to make it a supplier to the heavy-duty truck market, Yasinsky said, noting that he expects its first shipments of heavy-truck products to be made in 1996.
Separately, he noted that GenCorp is developing structural automotive composite components with the help of a $2 million federal grant.