Mobil Corp.'s Tucker Housewares Division in Leominster, Mass., remains for sale, and at least one competing housewares molder, the owner of Anchor Hocking Plastics Inc., has checked it out and said no thanks, according to sources. Meanwhile, Tucker President Tom Cordano said layoffs have stopped. The company has ``had a fairly significant decline'' in factory jobs, he said, adding that Tucker has added marketing people. He declined to release employment figures.
Several sources in Massachusetts said Newell Co. looked at Tucker but pulled back. Newell owns Anchor Hocking Plastics, a consumer housewares molder in St. Paul, Minn., and, in nearby Coon Rapids, Plastics Inc., a food-service disposables maker.
Contacted Jan. 10, an executive at Anchor Hocking Plastics referred questions to Newell. Newell's base is in Freeport, Ill.; its officers are in Beloit, Wis.
Top Newell officials could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, companies said they would focus on products, not gossip, at this week's International Housewares Show, Jan. 14-17 in Chicago.
Plastic housewares molders face a market whose drivers are millions of shoppers expecting big markdowns.
Cordano, in a Jan. 10 telephone interview, said Tucker is still for sale, but added, ``There have been no decisions.'' He would not comment on Newell.
At Tamor Plastics Corp. in Leominster, President Leonard Tocci said nobody had contacted him to buy Tucker, but said ``We would be interested.''
Albert Stone, chairman of Sterilite Corp. in Townsend, Mass., said it may be a touchy situation if Mobil pitches Tucker to competitors in the intensely competitive plastics housewares industry, since they would have to share confidential financial data.
``The company is for sale. I do understand that,'' Stone said. ``I don't think we would be considered a qualified buyer.''
In 1995, Mobil began selling units it considered noncore, including its Plastics Division, a maker of plastic wrap, trash bags and thermoformed packaging, and its resin distribution arm, H. Muehlstein & Co. Inc.
Rubbermaid of Wooster, Ohio, and Tupperware Corp. of Kissimmee, Fla., declined to comment.