Pension group to pull suit against Kerr
LANCASTER, PA. — Kerr Group Inc. and prospective buyer Fremont Partners have acceded to a federal agency's concerns about Kerr's underfunded pension plan.
Upon execution of a definitive agreement, Kerr will pay $3.5 million into the plan at sale's closing and an additional $35.5 million through January 2003. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. will hold a second lien on substantially all of Kerr's assets.
The Washington-based agency will withdraw a suit it filed Aug. 1 against Kerr in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia. The agency, which estimated the Kerr pension plan's assets at $90 million and benefit liabilities at $130 million, was seeking court permission to take over the plan covering 5,600 workers and retirees.
Kerr of Lancaster makes plastic packaging products.
Schulman union members OK contract
FAIRLAWN, OHIO — Contract talks between compounder A. Schulman Inc. and United Steelworkers of America Local 76 have yielded a new, three-year contract.
Union and company representatives reached a tentative agreement late on Aug. 15, the last day covered by the previous contract. The rank and file of the 120-member union voted to accept the new contract Aug. 17.
President and Chief Executive Officer Terry Haines declined to discuss details of the contract, saying the Fairlawn-based compounder has a ``no comment'' policy on labor issues.
No union officials were available for comment.
Chemical leak contained at Ferro facility
WALTON HILLS, OHIO — An Aug. 15 bromine chloride leak at Ferro Corp.'s plastics additives plant in Walton Hills sent 11 people to area hospitals and caused part of the building to be evacuated.
The chemical, used to prepare pilot amounts of flame-retardant chemicals at the site, can cause respiratory irritation. Ten people were treated and released the same day, said Ferro spokesman Pat Cavanagh. One remained hospitalized Aug. 18, but Cavanagh said that person's symptoms did not seem to be related to the leak.
The problem was discovered at about 9:30 a.m. when workers noticed a reddish-brown cloud near a cylinder in an outside storage area. Cavanagh said he did not know how much of the material escaped before emergency workers contained the leak.
Two businesses near the site chose to evacuate temporarily.
The Ferro facility, located southeast of Cleveland, primarily produces plastics and rubber additives.
KTI sells Timber Energy recycling unit
GUTTENBERG, N.J. — KTI Inc. of Guttenberg has sold Timber Energy Plastics Recycling Co. of Tuscaloosa, Ala., to a group of investors and employees for $300,000 in cash and notes.
``The sale of the Tuscaloosa facility, which is involved in film plastic recycling, is consistent with management's strategy of focusing on our core business,'' said Martin J. Sergi, KTI president. ``The facility lost roughly $400,000 in the first six months of the year.''
KTI acquired Timber in November. The Timber plant can process 15 million pounds of post-consumer film a year.
Schmalbach reopens recycling operation
NOVI, MICH. — Schmalbach-Lubeca Plastics Containers USA Inc. reopened its Novi PET recycling plant Aug. 4, after using up inventory and upgrading operations.
Although the plant is not running at capacity, it is more efficient and has improved quality, said David Smith, manager of recycling sales and programs. He would not disclose how much was invested in the upgrade.
About 30 people were hired back, fewer than were employed before the March shutdown.
The recycling facility sorts, pre-washes, color separates, grinds and cleans PET post-consumer and post-industrial baled material. The post-industrial scrap comes from Schmalbach-Lubeca's bottle plants. The firm sells some of the flake and extrudes some into pellets.
The plant makes two brands of PET post-consumer pellets, Supercycle and Nucycle. Supercycle has been approved for direct-contact use with food.
Fiber Pad planning to build Okla. plant
TULSA, OKLA —Thermoformer Fiber Pad Inc. acquired Avtech Inc. of Broken Arrow, Okla., doubling production capacity for the Tulsa firm.
The purchase did not include any buildings. Fiber Pad is negotiating to build a 40,000-square-foot plant in Tulsa to house its current operations and six thermoforming machines from Avtech. Fiber Pad also will add six employees to its work force of 60. A company spokesman would not disclose more details.
Avtech made exercise equipment and furniture; Fiber Pad makes parts for buses and trucks.