European holding company Kvaerner A.S.A. has placed John Brown Plastics Machinery Inc. on the selling block.
The company includes five plastics machinery divisions — Brown Machine, which makes thermoforming machines in Beaverton, Mich.; Epco, a machinery remanufacturing company in Fremont, Ohio; Cumberland Engineering of South Attleboro, Mass., a supplier of granulators; Beringer, which makes pelletizers and screen changers in Marblehead, Mass.; and Italian injection press builder Negri Bossi SpA of Milan.
Charles Buckley, chief executive officer of John Brown Plastics Machinery, said the plastics businesses employ about 1,100. He declined to provide information about the companies' sales.
Buckley said there have been no offers yet for the businesses. He is based at corporate headquarters in South Attleboro.
Kvaerner, a Norwegian engineering and shipbuilding giant, with more than $10 billion in sales, has its international corporate headquarters in London. Kvaerner picked up John Brown Plastics Machinery in 1996, when it bought England's Trafalgar House.
Earlier this month, European press reports said Kvaerner has pledged to become debt-free by 2000 and sell off $1.6 billion worth of non-core businesses. The company wants to reorganize its seven divisions into four businesses — engineering and construction; industrial products such as metals, paper and hydroelectric power; oil and gas and shipbuilding. Kvaerner's first-half 1998 profit plunged by more than 60 percent from the first half of 1997, according to London's Financial Times.
In addition to John Brown Plastics, the company also wants to sell its U.S. house construction business, and two development sites in London.