Mannesmann mulls sale of Atecs unit DUSSELDORF, GERMANY — Mannesmann Plastics Machinery's ownership might become clear April 17.
Mannesmann AG will hold a board meeting that day to consider whether it will sell its engineering division Atecs Mannesmann, which includes MPM, or spin it off as a separate company.
Mannesmann's decision has been complicated by an April 5 offer by Robert Bosch GmbH and Siemens AG to buy Atecs for 9.1 billion euros ($8.78 billion). Mannesmann already was pondering a recent 7.5 billion euro ($7.24 billion) offer for Atecs made by Thyssen Krupp AG.
Dusseldorf-based Mannesmann originally had planned to spin off Atecs as a public company, to focus on its telecommunications business.
Achin Josten, a Mannesmann spokesman, said the company's board will meet to discuss the planned Atecs initial public offering, as well as the takeover offers.
MPM is the largest plastics machinery company in the world. Siemens and Bosch said they would operate Atecs as a joint venture and allow it operating independence for at least three years.
National Parks proposal pans plastics
WASHINGTON — A proposal could severely curtail plastics — particularly polystyrene — from concession stands at National Parks.
The National Park Service recently developed proposed contract language for its parks suggesting that "polystyrene and plastics will be used as little as possible" and that "reusable and recyclable products are preferred over `throwaways.'"
An agency official said the proposal is intended only as guidance for parks, and not as NPS policy. Parks make their own decisions about concession contracts, said Wendy Mann, a concession contract analyst with the park service in Washington.
The Polystyrene Packaging Council, a unit of the Arlington, Va.-based American Plastics Council, said the NPS proposal is based on outdated assumptions.
For example, the NPS proposal said only PS without chlorofluorocarbons should be used, but PSPC said CFCs have not been used to make PS in the United States since 1990.
"Like a lot of things we see from government agencies and private citizens, they still have decades-old information on polystyrene," said Ray Ehrlich, director of environmental health and safety at PSPC. "There is a huge myth out there that disposables are bad."
Tyco shareholders to vote on PVC use
HAMILTON, BERMUDA — Tyco International Ltd. is urging its shareholders to vote against an anti-PVC resolution at its April 19 annual meeting.
Several religious and medical groups that own stock in the Hamilton-based holding company want its Kendall Healthcare Products subsidiary to move away from PVC, arguing that vinyl produces dioxin when incinerated and frequently contains di-ethylhexyl phthalate, a toxin that can leach out of the PVC and put vulnerable populations at risk.
Groups pushing the shareholder resolution include Catholic Healthcare West in San Francisco; the Sisters of Mercy in Burlingame, Calif.; and the Christian Brothers Investment Services Inc. in New York.
Tyco is the only company right now facing an anti-PVC shareholder resolution, said Gary Cohen, a co-coordinator with Health Care Without Harm, a Falls Church, Va., organization advising the shareholders.
Cohen said Tyco and Kendall have committed to more meetings with the shareholders. But Tyco said PVC and DEHP have a history of safe use, and the company said while some applications may warrant alternative materials, it should have complete flexibility to make materials decisions.
Barlo building plant in Czech Republic
GEEL, BELGIUM — Europe's top clear plastics sheet extruder, Geel-based Barlo Plastics NV, will concentrate its polystyrene sheet output at a plant being constructed in the Czech Republic.
The $5 million project will replace a rented plant in Pribram, also in the Czech Republic, which will close.
Barlo also will move PS sheet production from its headquarters plant to the new facility, which will open by the end of the year.
The existing Czech plant has two extrusion lines. The new Czech plant will be more than double the size of Barlo's present eastern European unit, which covers about 15,000 square feet.
The latest move is in line with Barlo's policy of concentrating specific sheet products at particular plants.