Hanna, Ube forge global joint venture
CLEVELAND — Compounding giant M.A. Hanna Co. of Cleveland has formed a 50-50 global joint venture with Ube Industries Inc., Japan's largest producer of nylon resins and compounds.
The new venture will manufacture and sell nylon 6, 6/6 and 12 compounds in North America, Europe and China. Anticipated first-year sales are $15 million.
The North American arm of the venture will be named Ube-Hanna Compounding Co. Similar divisions will be formed in Europe and China.
``Partnering with Ube provides us the opportunity to enhance our product and market positions and fits with our strategy of providing a comprehensive product line to our customers,'' Hanna Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Douglas McGregor said in a news release.
Ube President Moami Nagahiro said the alliance is ``another step in the globalization of Ube's nylon business.''
The venture's compounds will be produced at Hanna facilities in Dyersburg, Tenn.; Bethlehem, Pa.; Houston; Gaggenau, Germany; Barbastro, Spain; and at a plant to be opened later this year in Suzhou, China.
Tokyo-based Ube posted North American sales of about $60 million last year through imported nylon resins and compounds.
Overall growth in nylon applications, particularly in the automotive industry, encouraged Ube to work with Hanna, Ube spokesman Nick Takahashi said.
Hanna, which posted sales of $2.2 billion last year, is the second-largest plastics compounder in North America, controlling 5-6 percent of the overall market, according to a recent market study by Frost & Sullivan of Mountain View, Calif.
Mercury planning $10 million expansion
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CALIF. — Film extruder Mercury Plastics Inc. plans to spend nearly $10 million to expand extrusion, printing and converting capacity at its City of Industry facility.
Chief Executive Officer Benjamin Deutsch said in a telephone interview that his firm will install a new, 64-inch-wide Windmoeller & Hoelscher printing press in its existing, 140,000-square-foot building in July. By the end of the year it will construct a 64,000-square-foot addition and begin adding more extrusion and bag-making equipment.
Deutsch said growth in California bag markets is spurring the project. Mercury sells most of its bags to fresh-produce growers and bakeries. Mercury extrudes and converts a range of polyethylenes, including metallocene resins. Deutsch estimated 1997 sales at about $45 million.
Mercury's expansion also should lead to improved quality and efficiency, according to Deutsch. Last year his firm added a 52-inch-wide Windmoeller & Hoelscher printing press and bag-making machinery. The latest printing press, an Astroflex, incorporates more automation and controls than Windmoeller & Hoelscher's earlier presses, Deutsch said.
Han Rigid to open PVC film plant in China
GUANGZHOU, CHINA — A Taiwanese investment group is building a PVC film plant in Guangzhou that will feature 10 extruders and eight calendering lines.
Han Rigid Investment Corp. of Taipei, Taiwan, is buying the extruders from Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik GmbH of Meinerzhagen, Germany. The extruders will feed the calendering lines, supplied by another Germany firm, Kleinewefers GmbH.
The plant will make rigid PVC for food packaging, blister packaging and credit card markets, according to Battenfeld.
The output of the extruders ranges from 5,072 pounds per hour to 7,276 pounds per hour. Each of the calenders will have a capacity of 8,820 pounds an hour. Battenfeld said five of the extruders will be in production in the next three months.
The Chinese plant will supply film to the growing Chinese domestic market as well as export its products elsewhere in Asia.
Strike ends at Pa. vinyl flooring plant
WHITEHALL, PA. — A month-long strike by about 240 workers at a Tarkett Inc. vinyl flooring plant in Whitehall ended May 31.
Members of Local 691 of the United Paperworkers International Union voted to approve a new contract by a 3-1 margin, according to news reports. Company and union officials were not available for comment.
Unspecified wage increases, continuing the company health plan and job protection provisions reportedly were key issues in the contract talks.