Outlook is brighter for Summit Plastics
Government officials should be lauded for their efforts to find a buyer for Summit Plastics Solutions Inc., which may save the Florence, Mass., company from liquidation.
Letting Summit and its units, Florence-based Pro Corp. and Daytona Beach, Fla.-based Apogee Plastic Technologies Inc., go the way of the dinosaur would be easy, but a waste of a good company and unfair to its 350 employees.
Summit, which filed for protection this month under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, is struggling with a debt estimated at nearly $17 million. Terry Minnick, the firm's former chairman and chief executive officer and a minority 10 percent shareholder in the business, opposes liquidation and is fighting to save the business. His efforts appear to be meeting with some success.
Key to the effort is the support of Massachusetts political figures contacted by Minnick, such as state House Majority Leader William P. Nagle Jr., a Northampton Democrat.
Nagle, who participated in a closed-door meeting with Summit management and a number of other government officials, including representatives from the offices of the state's two U.S. senators, John Kerry and Edward Kennedy, has indicated the company will remain open.
A number of potential buyers of the business are said to exist. That is not surprising. The company has a respected history and the support expressed by Nagle and other Massachusetts political figures help make Summit an even more attractive acquisition.
Red Cavaney, president and chief executive officer of the American Plastics Council since 1994, would be on most people's short list as a candidate to lead a national trade association.
He certainly is on the list compiled by the American Petroleum Institute's search committee in Washington. Its president and CEO, Charles DiBona, has passed the organization's mandatory retirement age of 65 and the group is looking for a new president.
An API spokesman wouldn't comment beyond that, but Cavaney acknowledges that he has spoken twice with the search committee and indicates he is interested in the position.
Given the turmoil associated with the possible merger of APC and the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., Cavaney can't be faulted for eyeing another post. Moreover, he has a strong background in Republican Party politics and is well-connected on Capitol Hill, with many contacts in corporate board rooms.
API is larger than APC and has a high Washington profile. DiBona, who has headed API since 1979, is a well-known spokesman for the powerful petroleum business. His successor will need to be equally adept at lobbying Congress and promoting the industry.
Cavaney is politically active and has received kudos for APC's image-boosting ``Plastics Makes it Possible'' campaign. API's interest in Cavaney is as understandable as Cavaney's interest in heading the association. Given the distraction the issue poses for the staffs of both organizations, a decision on DiBona's replacement can't be too distant.