Fire destroys recycler's warehouse
FLINT, MICH. — A fire at plastics recycler American Commodities Inc. in Flint has destroyed the firm's warehouse and caused more than $10 million in damage to the company's operations.
The blaze began about 1 a.m. Aug. 27 and burned most of the next day. The company evacuated 10 employees, and nobody was injured. However, the fire caused extensive smoke and water damage to the company's 125,000-square-foot facility, which includes offices, a manufacturing facility, a laboratory and the storage area.
The storage facility, which accounts for all but 30,000 square feet of the space, was destroyed, said American Commodities President Mark Lieberman. It housed a variety of engineering thermoplastic pellets and regrind material, Lieberman said.
The recycler is working from temporary offices and is continuing to ship materials, Lieberman said. The company also is scouting for a temporary warehouse until it can rebuild the storage facility, he said.
The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, but investigators believe it started in the storage area, said assistant chief James Horton of the Flint Fire Department.
Union tries to organize 2 Tenneco plants
NEW YORK — The Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees is working to organize Tenneco Packaging Inc.'s Malvern, Ark., and Jacksonville, Ill., plastics plants.
In Arkansas, a union election is scheduled for Sept. 17 and 18. A simple majority vote by workers is required to establish union representation. In Illinois, the organization drive has not progressed to the point of scheduling an election. If 30 percent of the workers to be organized sign and file a petition with the National Labor Relations Board, an election will be scheduled within the following six weeks.
The union is not necessarily targeting Greenwich, Conn.-based Tenneco or the plastics industry, one union official said.
``Whenever people want a union they give us a call,'' organizer Ann Brasher said in a telephone interview from UNITE's New York offices. ``A union is about people wanting to make a change in a workplace. That's what we're good at.''
But Rod Rusche, human resources manager at the Jacksonville plant, pointed out his facility has been ``union free'' for 40 years, despite numerous organization attempts.
``We don't think its good for us, good for the employees or good for the community,'' he said. ``We are going to appeal to the good sense of our workers'' in trying to keep the facility nonunion.
Summit creditors might oppose deal
FLORENCE, MASS. — The Florence factory of Summit Plastic Solutions Inc., now in bankruptcy and facing a mandate to be sold or shut down, could fetch more than $6 million, according to the firm's top executive, who said an offer could come soon.
Meanwhile, a lawyer for unsecured creditors said he may oppose a deal if it doesn't include enough money for that group.
Bill Brandt, interim chief executive officer, said Aug. 28 he was confident a solid offer for the plant, known as Pro Corp., would come within the next several days. Brandt said he wants to sell it as a going concern. About 200 people work there.
Brandt declined to identify the likely bidder. He said representatives of Summit and the potential buyer met Aug. 26 in New York, and ``agreed on the outlines'' of a deal.
John Doherty, bankruptcy analyst with the U.S. Trustees Office in Dorchester, Mass., moderated a meeting of creditors held Aug. 25. Doherty and a creditor who attended the meeting said Brandt is trying to get $6 million for the Florence factory. Brandt confirmed the number, but said that is the asking price for an opening offer.
Fremont finalizing Kerr Group purchase
LANCASTER, PA. — Fremont Partners LP plans to complete its acquisition of Kerr Group Inc. in about a month and privatize the Lancaster plastic packaging maker.
Fremont, a San Francisco investment fund, said Aug. 26 it has concluded its July 8 tender offer for Kerr stock. About 92.9 percent, or 3,653,433 shares, of Kerr's common stock and 62.6 percent, or 304,994 shares, of its preferred stock was tendered.