Tredegar Corp., responding to changes in hygienic product markets, will open a plant in China and close its Manchester, Iowa, facility. The Richmond, Va., firm will build a plant in Shanghai that mainly will produce blown polyethylene film for personal-hygiene items such as feminine pads and diapers. Tredegar already runs a film operation in Procter & Gamble Co.'s facility in Guangzhou, China. It will dedicate the Shanghai plant to supplying a variety of customers in China and Asia.
Tredegar plans to start running the Shanghai operation in the second quarter of 2001, it said in a March 23 news release. The unit will be its sixth plant outside the United States. It also has manufacturing facilities in the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina and Hungary.
Spokesman Edward Cunningham said the Manchester operation will close by the end of the third quarter because of changes in diaper manufacturing. That facility makes cast, embossed, diaper-backsheet film, which is being replaced by nonwoven laminates with a more clothlike feel that Tredegar makes at other U.S. locations.
Cunningham said some of Manchester's equipment will be moved to other Tredegar operations to satisfy residual demand for embossed film. Procter & Gamble has been a major customer for Manchester's production, using the embossed film in its Luvs diapers. The Manchester staff of 66 will be offered jobs at other locations and provided with severance and outplacement services.
"The expansion of our manufacturing presence in China is an opportunity to increase penetration of markets in China and throughout Asia," Tredegar Film Products President Thomas Cochran said in a news release.
Tredegar Film Products, a major producer of embossed and permeable films for disposable personal products, had sales of $340.5 million in 1998. Parent Tredegar Corp. also makes aluminum extrusions and has interests in various technology-based businesses.