ASC Holdings to purchase bankrupt JPE
ANN ARBOR, MICH. — ASC Holdings Inc., a newly formed holding company, has agreed in principle to acquire financially struggling automotive supplier JPE Inc.
JPE, based in Ann Arbor, injection molds and extrudes plastic auto parts at two subsidiaries, Plastic Trim Inc. of Dayton, Ohio, and Starboard Industries Inc. of East Tawas, Mich. In September, the JPE operations filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
ASC Holdings of Southgate, Mich., includes several executives from automotive sunroof supplier ASC Inc. ASC Holdings Chairman David Treadwell said ASC has signed a letter of intent to buy JPE, but the deal still must be approved by outside groups.
Under the agreement, ASC Holdings would acquire common and preferred stock of JPE, giving the holding company a 95 percent interest in JPE. ASC Holding also would invest $18.4 million in JPE and arrange a $51.6 million loan to the company.
JPE President Richard Chrysler said in a news release that the plan has a reasonable likelihood of success. He added that selling each of the subsidiaries separately would not have provided sufficient funds for a return to shareholders.
Low & Bonar buying Italian rotomolder
DUNDEE, SCOTLAND — Low & Bonar plc continues to grow its rotational molding business in Europe with the takeover of Italian rotational molder Spila srl.
Terms were not disclosed. Bologna, Italy-based Spila has annual sales of $8 million to $10 million and specializes in rotomolding industrial and chemical plastic containers.
Dundee-based Low & Bonar has been integrating its 1997 European rotomolding acquisitions in Spain, Denmark and France. The latest acquisition aims to strengthen capacity to serve multinational customers across Europe and North America.
L&B said it is seeking more rotomolding acquisitions in Europe and North America to boost its geographical spread. It has its eyes set on North America and is likely to announce a deal within six months, said finance director Norman McLeod.
L&B reported 1998 pretax profit was down slightly to £46.2 million ($76.6 million) from £47.5 million ($77 million), which the company blamed on the strength of the pound sterling. Sales were up 8 percent to £404 million ($669 million).
In its packaging division, L&B reported improved results for the North American businesses, thanks to the reorganization of its polyethylene shipping-bag operations, which involved switching some production from its Tyler, Texas, plant to Calgary, Alberta, and Burlington, Ontario. The switch led to a loss of ``tens of jobs'' in Texas, McLeod said.
Tyco closing Graphic container factory
EXETER, N.H. — Just four months after sealing the deal, Tyco International (US) Inc. of Exeter is closing part of newly acquired Graphic Controls Corp., a plastic medical products maker.
Tyco announced Feb. 24 it plans to shut Graphic's 130,000-square-foot plant in Rock Hill, S.C., because operations there duplicate those at a Tyco plant in Chatsworth, Calif.
The move will cost about 130 jobs by April. However, Tyco is promising outplacement and severance pay. Graphic, based in Buffalo, N.Y., makes sharps containers at that plant.
Tyco administrators did not return telephone calls, but a newswire report said a recent study by Tyco indicated an overlap in production in Chatsworth and Rock Hill.
Publicly owned Tyco bought Graphic in November for $460 million in cash, and operates it under Tyco's Kendall Healthcare division. Graphic reported 1998 sales of $280 million.
Last year sales in Tyco's health-care and specialty products segment topped $1.34 billion.
APC will become 'full-service' group
WASHINGTON — Leaders of the American Plastics Council tentatively decided March 2 to become a ``full-service trade association,'' but said they have to flesh out what that means before making a final decision.
That decision could come at a special board meeting next month, or it could be made at APC's regularly scheduled board meeting in June, said APC President Ron Yocum. APC's executive committee voted 8-0 March 2 to proceed.
The decision to expand APC's functions is being watched closely by the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., which has said APC's moves will put the once-complementary trade groups into direct competition for members.