Laporte plc of London has merged its plastics compounding businesses in the United States, England and Canada to form the Laporte Worldwide Compounding Group.
The consolidation unites AlphaGary Corp. of Leominster, Mass.; Laporte AlphaGary of Syston, England; and AW Compounders of Stoney Creek, Ontario. AlphaGary Corp.'s compounding plants in Pineville, N.C., and Newark, N.J., also are included.
The new group's business cards may not even be printed yet, but it is breaking ground this month on a $20 million plastics compounding plant in Melton Mowbray, England, that will replace the Syston facility when it opens early next year.
The new plant will manufacture the company's complete line of compounds and its specialized compounds for regulated applications in medical devices and crown and closure sealants.
Production capacity at the new facility will be 81.5 million pounds a year, a substantial jump from the Syston plant's 44 million-pound capacity. The Melton Mowbray facility will operate six extrusion lines and will employ 105, 20 workers more than currently are employed at Syston.
Laporte officials said the reorganization, which took effect in late February, combines separate businesses with similar focuses, market niches and technologies.
``Laporte now is positioned as a global leader in polymer compounding,'' said Michael Kenny, president of Laporte Inc., Laporte's North American subsidiary in Princeton, N.J. ``The global compounding market will benefit from more productive research and development efforts made possible by sharing technology.''
Jack Rasmus, the group's Americas sales director, had a simpler way of putting it.
``Were all singing from the same sheet,'' Rasmus said in an April 16 telephone interview.
The newly formed group, with about 400 employees, will be based in Leominster, with Robert Gingue, former AlphaGary Corp. managing director, holding the same title with the new division.
The group specializes in polymer compounding — including thermoplastic elastomers and PVC-based products — for the wire and cable, medical, regulated packaging, automotive, industrial goods and footwear markets.
The outfit also manufactures blends and alloys of polyethylene, polypropylene, urethane, nitrile rubber and ethylene vinyl alcohol.
``We'll be able to offer more consistency across the board, in our products as well as in communication,'' Rasmus said.
The group also is adding 10 million pounds of capacity to the 18 million-pound-per-year Stoney Creek facility. The new capacity should be available late this year.
When combined with the 200 million pounds of capacity at AlphaGary Corp.'s three plants, the group will have more than 300 million pounds of total annual capacity by the end of 1998.
Officials would not provide a sales total for Laporte Worldwide Compounding Group. Laporte plc, a specialty chemicals maker, posted global sales of almost $1.4 billion in 1997.