Viag, Veba to merge chemicals divisions DUSSELDORF, GERMANY — Merging German chemicals and utilities groups Viag AG and Veba AG announced they are linking their respective chemicals interests, SKW Trostberg AG and Degussa-Huls AG, and cutting 3,000 jobs worldwide.
The new, Dusseldorf-based chemicals company, to be known as Degussa AG, will begin operating in 2001. It will include six divisions: specialty polymers, construction chemicals, coatings and rubber ingredients, fine chemicals and intermediates, food and feed additives and care chemicals.
In a bid to boost flagging profit margins in the chemicals businesses, the parent firms announced an ambitious restructuring program for Degussa AG. The plan calls for the company to cut 3,000 jobs worldwide, saving $275 million within three years.
Munich, Germany-based Viag and Dusseldorf-based Veba announced the merger plan last year. The merged company will be called E.ON, and will hold a 64 percent stake in Degussa AG, the partners announced.
The parent firms also announced that they plan to expand their merged specialty chemicals operations with about $2.75 billion in funds raised through the disposal of selected noncore businesses. Businesses chosen for disposal, with combined sales of about $4.6 billion, include banking, medical and dental units of DegussaHuls, and gelatin, salt and metallic chemicals activities from the Viag subsidiary.
Within four years, they plan to boost sales to between $16.5 billion and $18.3 billion, from $8.2 billion.
This is the second reorganization for Degussa-Huls in the two years since it was created when the Degussa and Huls operations merged.
In January the merged company announced it had pulled out of PVC production with the sale of subsidiary Vestolit GmbH & Co. to an investment syndicate led by leveraged-buyout specialists D. George Harris & Associates Inc. of New York and Candover Partners Ltd. of London for $158 million.
Fairway Molds moves presses to new plant
WALNUT, CALIF. — Fairway Molds Inc. of Walnut has relocated four injection molding presses to a newly constructed, 4,200-square-foot center for mold testing and integration.
The addition is adjacent to Fairway's 26,000-square-foot core facility, which makes high-cavity, close-tolerance molds.
Since November 1998, the firm has invested about $500,000 for construction and $1.5 million for equipment. It has boosted employment to about 100, from 75.
Almost one-half of the new space is reserved for turnkey development programs, John Catalano, technical sales and marketing manager, said by telephone. Such a program might involve an initial shakedown of a Fairway-constructed mold with a customer's new molding machine, hot-runner system and downstream assembly equipment.
Fairway tests mold functions and does short runs so a customer on site can inspect parts.
The presses, which were moved in mid-May, have 85-375 tons of clamping force.
The additional equipment includes four computer numerically controlled, sinker-electric-discharge machines from Mitsubishi and a Yasda high-speed milling machine with an integrated Unigraphics computer-aided-manufacturing package that allows the company to finish areas and cavities and cores, Catalano said.
Fairway had mold sales of about $16 million and molding sales of about $1.5 million for the fiscal year ended Nov. 30. The total will approach $20 million this year, he said.
StackTech Systems Inc. of Rexdale, Ontario, owns Fairway and two Ontario mold makers, Tradesco Mold Ltd. of Rexdale and Unique Mould Makers Ltd. of Toronto. New York merchant bank Castle Harlan Inc. established StackTech as a holding company.
BASF plans to add crystal PS capacity
LUDWIGSHAFEN, GERMANY — BASF AG plans to install major new capacity for its Styrolux crystal polystyrene polymer in Germany, Belgium and Mexico, to supply growing markets in Europe and Asia and open up new markets in the Americas.
The company is investing about $64 million in the projects.
Ludwigshafen-based BASF intends to build a 66 million-pound-per-year plant at its Antwerp, Belgium, complex. The facility is to begin operating in 2002.
BASF also will construct a world-scale crystal PS plant at its petrochemicals complex in Altamira, Mexico. That plant will start with capacity of 100 million pounds per year at the beginning of 2003, and will serve customers in all of North America, as well as some in South America.
Before then, BASF plans to raise Styrolux capacity at the Antwerp site to 77 million pounds per year, from 44 million pounds. Also, it will boost capacity in Ludwigshafen to 44 million pounds per year, from 33 million pounds. The additional output in Belgium and Germany should be available by mid-2001, according to BASF.
The expansion projects still await the final green light from the BASF board of directors.
Styrolux is used chiefly for manufacturing packaging films, drinking cups and tubs for food applications ranging from ice cream to hamburgers and pasta.
Baerlocher building additives facility
DOVER, OHIO — Baerlocher USA has started construction of a plastics additives plant in Cincinnati.
When the 60,000-square-foot facility begins operating next year, it will produce calcium and zinc stearates and blends. Stearates are a common additive for rigid vinyl extrusion into pipe, windows, siding, fence components and other profiles.
The Cincinnati operation will include a test laboratory for quality control, technical service and additives research and development. Nirmal Jain, Baerlocher president and chief executive officer, said in a news release that other additives for polyethylene and polypropylene also will be made at the new plant.
Dover-based Baerlocher expects to employ 30-35 at the Cincinnati operation. The firm makes a range of plastics additives, including vinyl stabilizers, metallic stearates and lubricants. It is a subsidiary of Baerlocher GmbH of Munich, Germany.
Maag Pump acquires Engineered Filtration
MATTHEWS, N.C. — Maag Pump Systems Textron Inc., which makes gear pumps and filter systems for extrusion, has purchased Engineered Filtration Co. Inc., a maker of filter elements, diverter valves and other equipment.
Engineered Filtration's reputation in polymer and monomer production fits well with Maag's polymer discharge and compounding pumps, said Frank Brinken, chief executive officer of Maag Pump Systems in Matthews.
Maag will move production from the Engineered Filtration factory in Fort Mill, S.C., about 10 miles north to its its plant in Charlotte, N.C., which also houses Maag's filtration and gear-pump operations.
A Maag spokeswoman said the company has retained six of the eight employees of Engineered Filtration. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Struktol to purchase Morton thioester unit
STOW, OHIO — Stow-based Struktol Co. of America has agreed to purchase the thioester antioxidant business unit of Morton International Inc.
Under the purchase agreement, Struktol will assume all production, sales and marketing activities for the products. Thioester antioxidants are used as secondary antioxidants in many polymer applications, such as thermoplastic resins and adhesives.
Struktol is a manufacturer of performance additives for polymers.
Fitchburg, Mass.-based Newline Color Inc., a manufacturer of color concentrates and compounds for thermoplastics, has appointed Ken Cary Co. of Pompano Beach, Fla., to provide sales and service for the company's customers in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina and northern California. ... Oxford Polymers, a developer and manufacturer of high-performance engineering thermoplastics in New Britian, Conn., has entered into a market development and manufacturing alliance with Infinite Polymer Systems II to promote and manufacture polyetherketoneketone-based compounds. ... Thermal Care of Niles, Ill., formerly a division of MFRI Inc., also based in Niles, became incorporated in December. The company is now a subsidiary of MFRI. ... Foilmark Inc. of Newburyport, Mass., received the 1999 Governor's Award for Outstanding Achievement in Toxics Use Reduction. The company's program was focused on source and emissions reduction. ... Cass Polymers of Oklahoma City, Okla., the parent company of Adtech Plastic Systems Corp. and Milamar Coatings LLC, was named the second fastest-growing company in the annual Metro 50 Competition last year.