RMP restructuring, closing N.J. plant MUNDELEIN, ILL — Rexam Medical Packaging plans a $25 million restructuring during the next two years that will close one plant and beef up its four remaining North American factories.
RMP, a unit of Rexam plc, announced April 12 that it plans to close its Mount Holly, N.J., converting plant by mid-2002, and transfer and add equipment at its other plants so that each specializes in particular products.
The Mundelein headquarters plant will produce film roll stock, bags and pouches; Madison, Wis., will make coated and laminated roll stock; Ashland, Mass., will turn out die-cut lids, labels and short-run roll stock; and Guadalajara, Mexico, will make hospital pouches and paper bags.
The $25 million will include investments in tandem coextrusion coating and laminating equipment, additional blown film coextrusion capacity and custom-designed bag and pouch making equipment.
Company officials said details will be released later. Todd Hurd, project director for the restructuring, said the company is announcing the expansion early to give customers time to react, and is willing to make changes in its plan.
The Mount Holly plant will close in several phases, and its 135 employees will be given the chance to apply for other jobs in the company, Hurd said. RMP will also offer severance packages.
Company officials said the investment reflects increased business, and said it continues consolidation of customer service, bag and pouch making and blown film production in the last three years.
Visteon to gain independence from Ford
DEARBORN, MICH. — Automotive parts maker Visteon Corp. will be spun off from its parent, Ford Motor Co., later this year and become an independent company, the automaker announced April 14.
Dearborn-based Visteon was created in September 1997 from Ford's automotive components division. The company, a major molder of plastic parts, had 1999 sales of $19.4 billion, ranking it among the largest 100 companies on the Fortune 500 once it is separated from Ford.
The spinoff is expected to take place this summer. Current Ford shareholders will receive an equal amount of Visteon stock.
Phillips, ExxonMobil PE-patent trial opens
WILMINGTON, DEL. — Phillips Petroleum Co. is seeking more than $150 million in damages from ExxonMobil Corp. for alleged violations of a Phillips patent used to make metallocene-catalyzed linear low density polyethylene.
The case went to trial in U.S. District Court in Wilmington on April 6 and is expected to conclude later this month.
"Our position is that we're not infringing on the patent," ExxonMobil spokesman Russ Roberts said. "We'll continue to enforce and protect our very significant investment in polyethylene technology."
The suit, filed in 1998, specifically addresses Houston-based ExxonMobil's production of hexene copolymer grades of metallocene LLDPE, which is used in plastic films. ExxonMobil produces the material at its Mont Belvieu, Texas, plant.
The case won't slow down the commercial development of the metallocene PE market, according to Don Brady, manager of Phillips' polymers and materials division.
Brady also disputed an April 6 Reuters story that said James Randle, a former Phillips scientist hired by Exxon in 1985, was involved in the patent infringement.
Tredegar sheds Fiberlux profile unit
HOUSTON — Vinyl profile extruder Fiberlux has been sold to Westech Windows Inc., a subsidiary of Westlake Group of Houston.
The deal tosses Fiberlux's former parent company, Tredegar Industries Inc. of Richmond, Va., out of the vinyl profile manufacturing business, said Tredegar spokesman Edward Cunningham.
"We have exited that business," he added, because Holmes, N.Y.-based Fiberlux was only a small part of Tredegar's overall sales, which mainly are attributed to aluminum profile extrusions and plastic films.
In fact, Tredegar, which posted 1999 sales of $230 million, did not even mention vinyl extrusion in its latest annual report.
Tredegar plans to focus on expanding its aluminum and plastic film businesses, Cunningham said. Westlake Group officials could not be reached for comment.