Rapid Design expands design base with buy DAYTON, OHIO — In a melding of two automotive engineering firms, Rapid Design Service Inc. has acquired PGK Services/Engineering, a major designer of plastic interior and exterior systems.
The sale to Dayton-based RDS gives the company a broader base of operations, said Richard Tschirhart, RDS chairman and chief executive officer. PGK, founded in 1997, also owns a prototype and production injection toolmaker, Centennial Mold Inc. Both PGK and Centennial are based in Sterling Heights, Mich.
"Even though PGK is in its infancy, its reputation and capability of its people complemented ours," Tschirhart said in a Jan. 13 telephone interview. "This gives us prototyping clear though to production tooling."
PGK, which employs about 150, focuses on vehicle systems, while RDS is more involved in specific components, said former PGK CEO Patrick Kirby. RDS has about 4,000 employees.
The PGK name will remain as a division of RDS, Kirby said. The companies are seeking a new, joint location in the Detroit area, he added. Kirby and Tschirhart will serve as co-CEOs.
Kirby created and ran Megatech Engineering Inc., a plastic engineering house once owned by injection molder Becker Group Inc. He left to start PGK.
The combined companies will operate 40 offices in 10 countries and record annual sales of more than $250 million, Tschirhart said. Terms of the agreement, effective immediately, were not announced.
DuPont, Borealis form European partnership
WILMINGTON, DEL. — DuPont and Borealis A/S are creating a joint venture in Europe to manufacture high-pressure polyolefin elastomers and ethylene copolymers.
Wilmington-based DuPont already is a global leader in speciality ethylene copolymers, and Borealis is the world's fourth-biggest polyolefin producer. The 50-50 venture will be based at Borealis' polymer and compounding site at Zwijndrecht, Belgium. The plant's 250 workers are to be retained.
The companies said the deal will give DuPont Borealis' Borflex ethylene acrylate copolymer business and technology. Borealis of Lyngby, Denmark, will keep technology rights for its wire and cable polymers business.
The new enterprise will operate the site's reactors and other assets, including the compounding units retained by Borealis for the wire and cable business. Production facilities will be modified to support the growth of DuPont's specialty ethylene copolymers.
"By joining forces with DuPont, the potential of Borflex in the marketplace will be realized a lot faster," Staffan Lennstrom, executive vice president of Borealis' performance products division, said in a news release.
The move shows DuPont's commitment to its global ethylene copolymers business, said Jerome Smith, president of DuPont Packaging and Industrial Polymers.
"Investing in a new specialty copolymer technology platform, as well as European capacity, is a strategic fit with other recent expansions and technology investments in North America and other regions," Smith said.
DuPont already employs 1,300 at existing sites in Belgium. Borealis operates two other polyolefin production sites in Belgium, in Beringen and Kallo.
Dow Chemical, EPA reach a settlement
MIDLAND, MICH. — Dow Chemical Co. and the Environmental Protection Agency have reached a $130,000 settlement to an administrative complaint that Dow failed to report in a timely manner hazardous chemical releases from its Midland plant.
The releases occurred on four separate occasions between November 1997 and May 1999. They involved several chemicals, including vinyl chloride used to make Saran Wrap plastic film.
Dow will pay a civil penalty of $82,834 and perform environmental projects valued at $48,446. Midland-based Dow denied wrongdoing but cooperated with EPA by providing information and taking steps to ensure that authorities will be notified promptly of any such releases in the future.
EPA originally had proposed a fine of about $660,000.
"Obviously we don't want to see a fine, but we agree with [the reduction in the fine] because several of the amounts released were not really substantial," Dow spokesman Eric Grates said.
Some of the releases were underreported at the time. Dow eventually reported the full amounts, but not before the releases were classified as late reports, Grates said.
Degussa-Huls exits production of PVC
LONDON — Degussa-Huls AG has pulled out of PVC production with the sale of Vestolit GmbH & Co. to an institutional investment group for more than 300 million deutsche marks ($158 million).
The investment syndicate is led by two leveraged buyout specialists: D. George Harris & Associates Inc. of New York and Candover Partners Ltd. of London. The buyers intend to run the Marl, Germany, company as an independent entity, retaining the present management led by its President Robert Bornhofen. The new owners also plan to purchase similar higher-margin producers in the region, they said.
D. George Harris, chairman of DGH&A, will head the Vestolit board, which will include Candover Managing Director Colin Buffin.
Vestolit operates one of the largest fully integrated PVC production plants in Europe, with a capacity of 705 million pounds per year. The firm has 800 employees and generated sales of 280 million euros ($290 million) in 1998, according to Degussa-Huls of Frankfurt, Germany.
Degussa-Huls is the chemicals arm of Veba AG of Dusseldorf, Germany.
Vestolit specializes in PVC resin for the construction industry, and is the market leader in Western Europe's window profiles market.
"This acquisition is the first step in our long-term strategy to become a leading player in the European PVC market," Harris said in a news release.
He added that Vestolit's alliances with strong players in the European building sector "make it an excellent choice for a core business."
DGH&A has made 30 acquisitions in North America since it was formed in 1988. Candover, formed in 1980, has led 87 transactions.
Colormaster opens 2nd Indiana plant
AVILLA, IND. — Colormaster Inc. has begun operations at a second Indiana plant and laboratory, and has named a new president.
Colormaster compounds color concentrates for thermoplastics. It spent about $2 million to buy 6 acres and build an expandable, 14,000-square-foot facility in Butler, Ind. The new location is 25 miles from a 20,000-square-foot Avilla plant, laboratory and headquarters.
"We have outgrown the facility," said Rick Bacon, who on Jan. 1 succeeded Mike Moor as president.
Bacon joined Colormaster in 1994 and had been vice president. Moor, who helped found the company in 1992, no longer is involved in the day-to-day business, but remains one of eight stockholders.
Colormaster, founded in 1992, employs 53 and had 1999 sales of about $9.5 million. The company received ISO 9002 certification Dec. 6