Dow picks site for N. American PP plant
MIDLAND, MICH. — Dow Chemical Co. has chosen Freeport, Texas, as the site for its first world-scale North American polypropylene plant.
Midland-based Dow will begin producing 500 million pounds of Inspire-brand PP using Spheripol technology at the site in 2000, company officials said in a news release.
In a separate move, Dow announced the start of a joint venture with LG Chemical Ltd. of Seoul, South Korea, to produce, market and sell Dow's Claibre-brand polycarbonate in the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan.
Dow is currently operating a PP pilot plant in Freeport, where the company operates a major chemicals and plastics complex.
The Freeport plant will join a 450 million pound per year PP plant scheduled to open in Schkopau, Germany, in the second quarter of this year. A similar plant is scheduled to open in Tarragona, Spain, in 2000.
FDA OKs more recycled PET in containers
PHILADELPHIA — Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc.'s recycling subsidiary received a letter of no objection from the Food and Drug Administration late last month for use of post-consumer PET in all types of beverage and food containers.
Nationwide Recyclers Inc. developed a proprietary, secondary recycling process to produce post-consumer PET of suitable purity to be used at any percentage of content, including 100 percent. The process, which the firm has been developing for more than two years, uses advance cleaning procedures.
Philadelphia-based Crown Cork & Seal, the largest blow molder in North America, claims the process is economically feasible.
Megatech founder opens design center
TROY, MICH.—Patrick Kirby, the founder of a major automotive design center in the Detroit area, has left his former firm to open PGK Engineering, a design, engineering and tooling center.
The new company, based in Troy, will offer services including product design and development, global staffing, program management, and tooling and prototyping capabilities.
Kirby developed Megatech Engineering, a $75 million company that employs more than 800 in North America and Europe. The engineering services firm is owned by auto supplier Becker Group Inc. of Sterling Heights, Mich.
Kirby, a former partner at Becker, said he left the company in August after management asked him to take a new corporate role distancing him from Megatech.
Film maker considers sale or merger
NEWPORT NEWS, VA.—Plastic film producer Blessings Corp. is considering a possible sale or merger, and also just closed a deal to buy the remaining share of a leading Mexican film printer.
Newport News-based Blessings announced Feb. 18 that it had hired the investment bank Bowles Hollowell Conner & Co. to help evaluate strategic alternatives for the company.
On Feb. 9, Blessings paid $18.5 million for 40 percent of Nacional Envases de Pl stico SA de CV, also known as Nepsa. In mid-1994, Blessings spent $41 million and issued 200,000 shares to buy a 60 percent stake in the Mexico City-based firm.
Blessings now owns two units that extrude polyethylene and polypropylene film, mainly for bags and other packaging, disposable diapers and health-care products: Nepsa and Edison Plastics, also of Newport News. Edison placed 47th in Plastics News' 1997 survey of North American film and sheet processors with sales of $100 million. Nepsa had 1997 sales of $55 million.
Echlin fights hostile takeover by SPX
BRANFORD, CONN. — Echlin Inc. has no plan to exit plastics as it restructures and fends off a hostile takeover by SPX Corp.
Echlin considers plastics molding and extrusion integral to its core auto parts manufacturing business, said Paul Ryder, vice president of investor relations. The Branford-based firm has been divesting noncore operations, including its Preferred Plastic Sheet Division, its only noncore plastics business. It sold the polyethylene sheet extruder to Spartech Corp. last year.
Ryder said Echlin plans to fight a takeover by SPX of Muskegon, Mich., because the two firms have no overlap in manufacturing or distribution. SPX makes auto diagnostic and emissions testing equipment, operates a warranty repair tool business and dealer equipment program, develops service and owners' manuals and makes vehicle components.