MARKHAM, ONTARIO - Magna International Inc. plans to expand its European auto parts operation by acquiring an interior components producer based in Austria. The Markham-based firm recently agreed to buy 90 percent of Eybl Durmont AG, a producer of interior door panels and carpeting at plants in Ebergassing and Hartberg, Austria. Eybl has annual sales of about C$175 million (US$125.1 million).
Magna spokesman Paul Pivato said his company is performing due diligence on Eybl and could finalize the deal by May. Eybl employs about 750. It supplies several European automotive original equipment manufacturers.
The Eybl deal would boost Magna's European sales to about C$1 billion (US$715 million) per year from 20 manufacturing plants employing more than 4,000. European operations for Magna's first six months were ``marginally profitable,'' and sales were C$341 million (US$243.8 million), the firm said in a news release.
Magna agreed to buy the 90 percent stake from GiroCredit Bank Aktiengesellschaft/Osterreich der Sparkassen. It did not disclose terms of the deal.
Magna reported sales of C$2.1 billion (US$1.5 billion) for six months ended Jan. 31. Its profit for the period was C$154.2 million (US$110.3 million).
SIDS link to plastic bedding rebutted
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - British researchers rebutted an alleged link between flame-retardant plastic bedding and sudden infant death syndrome.
The alleged link caused a scare in Britain in November that convinced some retail chains to remove certain infant mattresses from stock. A Nov. 17 British television program, The Cook Report, claimed a possible link between SIDS and antimony and phosphorus chemicals.
In a letter to Lancet, a British medical journal, doctors at the Institute of Child Health in Bristol said their study showed no correlation between SIDS and babies sleeping on plastic-covered mattresses.
The British SIDS scare did not have much impact in the United States, said Elaine Tyrel, a Consumer Product Safety Commission spokeswoman. Tyrel said she was not aware of stores removing mattresses from shelves, and only a few consumers contacted the commission with questions about the alleged link, which was discounted by the safety panel in December.
First Brands unveils unveils South African deal
DANBURY, CONN. - First Brands Corp. on March 24 announced that it will buy a majority interest in Multifoil Holdings Ltd., a South African company that makes and markets consumer plastic wrap and bags and flexible packaging materials. Terms were not disclosed.
Multifoil, based in Johannesburg, makes plastic wrap with the Glad trademark under a 9-year-old license from First Brands of Danbury.
Multifoil has three manufacturing plants and reported sales of about $21 million for the past 12 months. Multifoil's management will retain a minority interest.
MOld design, management firm opens
WAVERLY, IOWA - BLM Molds Inc., a mold project management business, opened its offices last week in Waverly.
Wayne Brocka, Herb Lease and Doug Madsen - formerly with Hobson Bros. Mould and Aluminum Foundry in Shell Rock, Iowa - started the partnership.
The trio will offer mold design, computer-aided design, manufacturing and programming, and mold project management services to the plastics industry.
Lease said BLM will design and oversee all types of mold projects including injection and blow molds. The firm will use a network of machine shops, pattern shops and foundries with a variety of capabilities.
Dow announces polystyrene price hike
MIDLAND, MICH. - Dow Chemical Co. of Midland announced March 27 that it will increase its prices May 1 for general-purpose, impact and ignition-resistant grades of polystyrene resins by 4 cents per pound.
The increase is the second for PS this year. Producers put a 4 cent-per-pound price hike into effect March 1.