Advanced Environmental Recy-cling Technologies Inc. an-nounced April 15 it intends to form a joint venture with an Arkansas-based furniture manufacturer for a second composite lumber manufacturing facility. A.E.R.T. President Joe G. Brooks said Sutton Products Inc. of Bergman, Ark., will provide facilites for the joint agreement. Able to process wood from tree to finished furniture, 67-year-old Sutton specializes in hardwood turnings to make bar stools and porch columns, said President Bobby L. Sutton.
Brooks said the types of hardwood used by Sutton will work well in the recycled plastic composite industrial flooring planned for manufacture in the joint venture.
Brooks said an initial $1 million investment will serve to open an extrusion line at the furniture company's warehouse and manufacturing facility. A.E.R.T. is based in Springdale, Ark., and has a film processing plant in Rogers, Ark.
Brooks said the Bergman location was strategic for midwestern U.S. accounts, while A.E.R.T.'s other extrusion plant, in Junction, Texas, better serves south-central and western U.S. accounts.
The new line is expected to be completed in late summer. Brooks
said the expansion will allow sole dedication of its Junction facility to production for Weyerhaeuser Co. A.E.R.T. entered into a marketing distribution agreement with the Tacoma, Wash., forest products company last May, in which Weyerhaeuser agreed to market A.E.R.T.'s recycled polyethylene and cedar wood composite lumber product regionally to retail home centers.
Brooks expects to construct three extrusion lines at the new facility. With the recent addition of a third extrusion line in Junction and the planned addition of two more lines in that facility in 18 months, Brooks said the company eventually will have eight working extrusion lines.
During the next 18 months, A.E.R.T. plans another $3 million to $4 million investment in the Junction plant for the additional two extrusion lines, Brooks said.
The joint venture puts new capital into A.E.R.T., which has not earned a profit in seven straight years. The company reported a net loss of $2.75 million in 1995, an improvement over a net loss of $2.97 million the previous year. Brooks, in a telephone interview from his Junction office, said he anticipated A.E.R.T. will turn a profit in 1996.
A.E.R.T. still is awaiting a ruling in U.S. District Court in Wilmington, Del., regarding whether it is liable for up to $2.7 million in legal fees resulting from its federal court battle with Mobil Corp. over patent infringement. In that 1992 case, the court ruled Mobil had not infringed on four of A.E.R.T.'s patents on plastic lumber manufacturing processes. The patents also were ruled invalid.
R.J. Skaggs, A.E.R.T.'s counsel in Wilmington, said a district court ruling on who will pay the legal fees is stayed pending appeal of A.E.R.T.'s patent case, which is now in the federal Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington.
That same order, dated March 29, stays A.E.R.T.'s motion for a new trial in the case. That motion is based on A.E.R.T.'s assertion that Mobil acted improperly by allegedly altering a federal Department of Transportation test result documents of Mobil's recycled plastic-based lumber product.
Mobil manufactures its plastic lumber product, tradenamed Trex, in Winchester, Va.