WASHINGTON — The Composites Institute and its Washington-based parent, the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., are in talks aimed at easing the financial impact of an SPI restructuring on the institute.
Leaders of both groups met Jan. 13 to talk about the Composites Institute's concern about the ``significant deficit'' that some preliminary projections show it will have from an SPI restructuring designed to cut dues for processors and give SPI's units more autonomy, said SPI Vice Chairman Harry Ussery.
Leaders of both groups declined to talk in detail, but Composites Institute officials said they may have a statement after SPI's board meeting later this month.
The New York-based Composites Institute is one of SPI's larger units, but it was hurt this fall when a major supplier pulled out of its revenue-raising trade show. The institute agreed to combine trade shows with its rival, the Arlington, Va.-based Composites Fabricators Association.
The SPI restructuring, dubbed Framework for the Future, lowers maximum processor dues from $164,000 to $10,000 and cuts all processor dues by an average of two-thirds.
The restructuring, which takes effect June 1, is contributing to a deficit of $1.5 million in SPI's core operations — functions such as government relations and communications that do work for all segments.
Most SPI units surveyed said the restructuring would not be a financial problem because their deficits are small and their member companies agreed to make up the difference, or because some, like the Machinery Division, showed a surplus. Some groups, such as the Styrene Information and Research Center, declined comment.
Ussery said very few SPI units have significant deficits or surpluses, and predicted that the restructuring will not have a significant negative impact on SPI.
SPI President Larry Thomas declined to identify the impact on specific units, but said the SPI board is willing to provide temporary help for some units.
Ron Bruner, SPI vice president of communications, said that no final decisions have been made on the financial impact: ``It's a cake in the middle of baking.''
Business units that have not traditionally charged members extra fees beyond standard SPI dues may be having more trouble with the restructuring, Bruner said.
Walt Bishop, head of both the Machinery and Moldmakers divisions, said the impact on those two will be ``very positive.'' He also said those divisions probably will be merged and Moldmakers made into a unit of the Machinery Division.
The Plastic Drum Institute would run a small deficit but its members agreed to make up the difference, while the Rigid Plastic Packaging Institute, the Degradable Polymers Council and the Naphthalate Polymers Council all are faring well, said John Malloy, staff director for each of those units.