TORONTO — Sealright Co. Inc. agreed to sell its Los Angeles plastic container operation to Polytainers Inc., a corporation owned by Polytainers Ltd. of Toronto.
Sealright said in a Jan. 8 news release that the Los Angeles operation was ``very unprofitable'' in 1996 and no longer fits Sealright's long-range plans. Sealright said in October it was considering selling the operation. Officials did not reveal terms of the agreement with Polytainers.
Sealright spokesman David Burket said the operation had a number of problems, including difficulties making the transition from polystyrene to polypropylene for cultured dairy-product containers. Its marketing, limited to the U.S. West Coast, did not fit Sealright's international scope, Burket said in a telephone interview.
The operation employs 140 and includes a variety of injection molding and thermoforming equipment, including a relatively new OMV thermoforming line, according to Burket.
Sealright will continue to own the 190,000-square-foot plant built in 1965 and will lease it to Polytainers.
Burket said it is too early to tell what charge against earnings Sealright will take on the sale. Last fall the DeSoto, Kan., company estimated it could incur a $4 million charge.
Ellen Mundy, Polytainer manager of human resources, confirmed that her firm signed a letter of intent with Sealright, but she could not provide other details. Polytainers is a private firm that produces rigid plastic packaging for food and dairy industries. The firms expect to reach a definitive purchase pact by the end of January. Sealright will close its Charlotte, N.C., flexible packaging plant by March 31 and move production and equipment to Akron, Ohio, and San Leandro, Calif. The firm's nine-month sales at Sept. 30 were $209 million.