MOUNT GILEAD, OHIO — HPM Corp. is not for sale and is not engaging in any talks to that effect, said the company's top official Sept. 23, in response to an unsourced story published on the Internet earlier that day.
``I am very surprised, because there is no substance to it. ... As it stands now, we are not on the block, we are not for sale, we are not talking,'' Neil Kadisha, president and chief operating officer of HPM's parent company, Los Angeles-based Stadco Inc., said in a telephone interview.
Stadco bought the 120-year-old maker of injection molding and extrusion equipment in 1996 and in the past 18 months has invested more than $5 million in HPM's two aging plants at its Mount Gilead headquarters.
Kadisha's comments came in response to a story posted on Plastics Technology magazine's Plaspec Web site, which said: ``Plaspec has learned that a senior official at HPM made a statement earlier this week to the effect that his company was up for sale. HPM officials yesterday would not confirm or deny whether or not the company was up for sale.'' The story did not include any named sources.
Kadisha noted that Stadco itself has been on the prowl for acquisitions and it occasionally receives unsolicited offers inquiring about HPM's availability, but added, ``I have nothing to report to you right now.''
But he did indicate that the tumultuous financial markets in the Far East are making life more difficult for U.S. machinery makers.
``There is a dark cloud over the whole industry because of the Asian crisis. Anybody who doesn't recognize that is naive,'' he said.
As a result, he said the normally aggressive HPM in recent months has been trying to strengthen itself and tighten its belt.
Some plastics machinery prices offered by Asian producers in North America now are lower than HPM's manufacturing costs, he said. As a result, ``we are looking at other actions right now.'' He declined to elaborate.