Robinson Group of Cos. Ltd., the bottled water and soft drinks parent company of Able Industries Ltd., is getting out of custom PET bottle making to concentrate on its core beverages business.
Worcestershire, England-based Robinson is selling three injection presses and six single-stage PET blow molding machines to RPC Group plc of Raunds, England, for £4 million ($6.3 million). The company also is selling a warehouse and will lay off 30-40 of Able's 120-strong work force by May, said Chief Executive Officer John Darlington.
Able Industries has concentrated historically on two main activities: injection molding PET preforms for Robinson's bottled water and soft drink products, and custom PET packaging, including candy jars and toy packaging, according to Darlington.
The Able plant in Tenbury Wells, England, has been operating an undisclosed number of injection presses, chiefly Husky machines and the six Nissei blow molding machines.
Preforms made at Tenbury Wells were shipped to Robinson's Northampton, England, drinks plant where they were blown into bottles on an undisclosed number of Sidel and Krupp Kautex blow molding machines.
The company has done custom molding for five years. The decision to pull out was the result of a ``stringent review'' of Robinson's overall activities, Darlington said. The business had become too labor- and capital-intensive, he said.
Darlington said his firm, which is heavily leveraged, has experienced some difficulties in its soft drink business. In reviewing its operations, the company decided to refocus on its core drinks business. It holds a 7 percent share of the United Kingdom bottled water market, Darlington said.