Thermotech to launch Mexican facility HOPKINS, MINN. — Thermotech will open a new facility in Mexico to supply injection molding and contract manufacturing services.
The firm, a division of Menasha Corp., will invest as much as $6 million in the facility, according to John Bonham, vice president and general manager.
The plant in Queretaro, Mexico, will open in the first quarter of 2001 with eight thermoplastic injection presses with clamping forces of 50-300 tons.
Thermotech already has lined up business in the region and is qualifying tools at its El Paso, Texas, facility, which will do initial production until the Queretaro plant opens, Bonham said March 29 by telephone from Thermotech's Hopkins headquarters.
The Queretaro plant will start with 50,000 square feet of space, but will be able to double that size. It will include a fully equipped toolroom.
Bonham said the company is negotiating with potential press suppliers. The facility will boost Thermotech's total press count to 153. Its other molding plants are in Hopkins and in St. Petersburg, Fla. The company employs more than 600 and has annual sales of about $73 million.
Pine River Plastics opening S.C. plant
ST. CLAIR, MICH. — Pine River Plastics Inc. will establish a plant in South Carolina for custom injection molding and assembly for automotive and other markets.
The St. Clair-based firm initially will invest about $5 million in the project, including a 36,000-square-foot plant. It expects to employ as many as 35 within the first year of operation. Pine River plans to start with six to eight presses, with clamping forces up to 500 or more tons.
Pine River now operates two molding plants in St. Clair with a total of 44 injection presses. It had sales of $47.7 million last year. Its operations include insert molding, coinjection, gas-assist molding, tool building and clean-room molding.
The company is building the plant on a 32-acre site in Oconee County between the towns of Westminster and Seneca. Pine River officially will open the plant in the fall, when the facility will begin new product launches and some molding that will transfer from St. Clair to be closer to customers. Pine River said it will be able to triple the plant's size.
Regional governments and the state are assisting in infrastructure development for the plant. Pine River will use $5 million in tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds for the initial investment, but it expects to continue investing in the site over several years.
Massachusetts reviewing bottle bill
BOSTON — Massachusetts legislators in Boston are in the middle of an ambitious program to review the state's bottle bill, but several observers do not expect major changes.
A joint legislative committee is holding 10 hearings this spring and plans to make a recommendation this summer.
The state's food industry, with the support of the Arlington, Va.-based American Plastics Council, put forward its own proposal. That plan would phase out the bottle bill and have industry kick in several million dollars over three years to help communities make the transition to curbside collection and dropoff centers.
The bottle bill costs $30 million a year and recycles only 1.3 percent of the waste stream, according to Chris Flynn, president of the Massachusetts Food Association.
But the Massachusetts Municipal Association wants to expand the bottle bill, because it has helped communities recycle and clean up litter. David Baier, legislative director for the association, said the group has not made expansion a priority, however.
Steve Rosario in Albany, N.Y., director of the APC's northeast region, said both proposals "have a long way to go."
Financier invests chunk in Federal-Mogul
SOUTHFIELD, MICH. — Financier Carl Icahn has invested $63.7 million in auto supplier Federal-Mogul Corp., buying 3.67 million shares in the company, representing 5.2 percent of its shares.
Icahn filed a report with the Securities and Exchange Commission March 28 stating he and two businesses he controls, High River Limited Partnership and Riverdale LLC, launched stock purchases Feb. 4, paying between $13.62 and $17.07 per share.
Southfield-based Federal-Mogul produces a variety of parts for the auto industry, including headlights that rely extensively on plastics. The firm had announced in September its intent to sell the lighting, wiper blade and fuel systems business — a division worth $700 million in annual sales — but retreated in February, Federal-Mogul Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dick Snell said in written comments.
The company has seen the value of its stock drop 62 percent during the past year, dropping from a high of $55.625 to as low as $12.8125.
Earlier in March it cut 1,500 jobs, or about 3 percent of its global work force.