Empire of Carolina Inc. is moving Buddy L toy assets acquired July 10 to its Tarboro, N.C., manufacturing plant. Empire will transfer extrusion, vacuum forming, injection and blow molding machines from former Buddy L plants in Gloversville and Mayfield, N.Y., to Tarboro, according to Empire controller Reuben Matthews. The transition should be complete late this year or by early 1996, he said by phone Aug. 30. Those facilities were not acquired in the buy, he said.
To accommodate the Buddy L equipment at the 1.2 million-square-foot plant, Empire will lease warehouse space at various Tarboro sites, perhaps as much as 300,000 square feet, Matthews said. Empire also is beefing up extrusion and blow molding capacity at the plant, he added.
Empire's toy operation, which recently changed its name from Carolina Enterprises to Empire Industries Inc., is based in Tarboro. Matthews said Buddy L, which is operating under the name of Empire Manufacturing Inc., probably would be incorporated into Empire Industries.
The Triangle Business Journal in Raleigh, N.C., reported July 21 that Buddy L's New York operations employed 350. Matthews could not confirm that number, but he said some of the Buddy L workers at those plants might be relocated to Tarboro.
Buddy L had 1994 sales of about $129 million for its plastic toys, according to an Empire news release. Empire, based in Delray Beach, Fla., manufactures a broad range of plastic children's toys, including Big Wheels ride-ons and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers paraphernalia. It also makes seasonal items.
For the six months ended June 30, Empire reported net sales rose to $38.7 million, from $11.4 million for the same period in 1994. It sustained a net loss of $2.27 million for the same six-month period of 1995, or 54 cents per share, compared with a loss of $645,000, or 4 cents per share for a year ago.
In a prepared statement, Empire President Steve Geller cited ``corporate overhead and interest expenses associated with our acquisition and reorganization activity'' as reasons for the loss.