CLEVELAND — Malco Inc. has wound down its use of plastics in automotive components as its owners negotiate to sell the firm. The Cleveland-based firm recently lost work making polypropylene-based rear floor assemblies for the Ford Econoline van. It also lost a contract to make seat-back panels for Lear Corp., its major customer. The panels were cloth-covered hardboard with an extruded plastic skirt.
Wayne Embry Jr., Malco's president and chief operating officer, said Lear converted to an envelope seat design that does not need a back panel. Other former plastics work at Malco plant included vinyl flooring for Ford Motor Co. vehicles.
General Motors Corp. will source fiberboard interior trim such as door panels from Malco until at least Dec. 20 to keep Malco running while its owners try to find a buyer, Embry said. Malco is consolidating its Union, Ill., facility, its first plant, established in 1978, into the 110,000-square-foot Cleveland operation. Malco had scheduled a Dec. 6 shutdown of the company before GM extended its trim order.
Malco's majority owners are Wayne Embry Sr., who is vice president of the Cleveland Cavaliers National Basketball Association team, and his son.
ST. LOUIS — Monsanto Co.'s board of directors last week approved a plan to spin off the company's chemicals business and form two separately traded, publicly held companies.
The chemical firm, which has not been named, will supply products including nylon, acrylic fibers for carpets and upholstery, and plastic interlayer for automotive and architectural glass.
The remaining portion of Monsanto after the spin-off will supply products to agricultural, food and health-care markets. These products include Roundup herbicide; NutraSweet sweetener; and various prescription drugs.
In 1995, the existing chemical businesses generated about $285 million in profit, recorded before interest and taxes, on sales of $2.7 billion.
Companywide, as a result of the spin-off, about 1,500-2,500 jobs will be cut worldwide, or 5-9 percent of the current work force, according to St. Louis-based Monsanto. Robert Potter, currently an executive vice president for Monsanto, will be chairman and chief executive of the new chemical company.
The spin-off requires approval by shareholders and government agencies and a ruling by the Internal Revenue Service that allows the transaction to be tax-free.
Monsanto said it intends to complete the spin-off no later than the end of 1997. Until the spinoff is complete, the two companies will operate separately within Monsanto beginning in early 1997.
EASTON, PA. — Injection molder SHR Enterprises Ltd. closes its doors in Easton this month.
A Dec. 17 auction will dispose of remaining equipment at the 168,000-square-foot facility, where it has operated for 11 years. SHR employs 10, down from about 175.
Plant manager Rick Schick said SHR lost the majority of its instrument panel business June 30 when General Motors Corp. shut down an assembly plant in Tarrytown, N.Y., and shifted operations to Georgia. Schick said potential business has been leaving the Northeast.
GM transferred SHR's plastic molding business to a Montreal operation and the door trim business to one of GM's Delphi Interior and Lighting facilities. SHR used the engineering thermoplastics ABS and styrene acrylonitrile for those applications.
WARREN, MICH. — Becker Group International, releasing new details of a previously announced project, said it will invest $7 million to build a plant in Alabama to make injection molded interior trim parts for a Mercedes-Benz sports utility vehicle.
Becker broke ground last month on a 60,000-square-foot plant in Tuscaloosa, where the company owns a 20-acre parcel. Until the plant is completed next summer, Becker will supply the Mercedes assembly operation in Alabama from a molding facility in Nashville, Tenn.
Becker expects to employ as many as 100 in Tuscaloosa when Mercedes is at full production of its new ``all-activity vehicle.'' The firm supplies Mercedes with door panels and other hard interior trim such as roof pillar covers.
Becker Chief Operating Officer Bob Albert said the Tuscaloosa plant is part of the company's strategy of locating trim plants near customer assembly operations to reduce costs and delivery times.
The company, with $1.4 billion in sales this year, said it also continues to work on potential joint ventures in Brazil, Thailand and India.