Germany's Vaillant set to buy Hepworth
REMSCHEID, GERMANY — German heating appliance manufacturer Vaillant GmbH is set to buy Hepworth plc, a London-based pipe, heater and greenhouse manufacturer.
Hepworth's board recommended the 692 million ($1 billion) offer to its shareholders in mid-January.
Remscheid-based Vaillant makes wall-hung and floor-standing heaters at plants in Germany, Spain and Italy.
Hepworth has plastic pipe extrusion and injection molding operations at five plants in Britain and China. The company employs 7,500 and reported profit of almost 70 million ($103 million) on sales of 562 million ($832 million) in 1999.
The plumbing goods division, Sheffield, England-based Hepworth Building Products Ltd., makes PVC, ABS and polypropylene pipe and fittings for house gutters, waste water, drainage and home-heating systems.
The company has 30 extrusion lines at its Padiham, England, plant, and more than 50 injection presses at facilities in Doncaster and Lichfield, England. Hepworth also has two plastics processing plants in China.
Vaillant spokesman Ebruth Zuber anticipates some cost-cutting moves after the merger is complete, but he would not discuss plans for Hepworth's plastics operations.
Zuber said Hepworth's heating business offered a complementary mix of products and a good geographical fit with Vaillant's heating operations.
Extruder boosting Flexafilms capacity
GALLARATE, ITALY — Flexafilms SpA is boosting capacity with a new Battenfeld extruder to make thin PVC film for adhesive tape production.
The Gallarate firm has ordered a planetary-gear PWE 350 extruder for continuous calender feeding from Battenfeld Extrusionstechnik GmbH of Bad Oeynhausen, Germany. The complete line will be in production by June, according to Battenfeld.
Flexafilms has four PVC film production lines, including the new Battenfeld machine, according to Managing Director Enzo Ratti. The new equipment is capable of processing 3,300 pounds of material per hour, according to Battenfeld parent SMS Plastics Technology of Meinerzhagen, Germany.
Flexafilms, a unit of Gruppo Flexafilms, makes emulsion PVC calendered films for self-adhesive tapes. Another subsidiary, Gallazzi SpA of Tradate, Italy, specializes in calendered PVC rigid films and foils for blister packaging. The Tradate plant is adding a PVC film line in 2002, according to Ratti.
In addition, Flexafilms has two businesses in France. Flexafilms France SA of Gemenos, near Marseilles, produces polypropylene films used for stationery, labels and technical applications. The plant has two cast film lines.
A second French business, Ceduliose SA of St. Maur des Fosses, near Paris, does slitting and printing of PVC film for pharmaceutical blister packs.
Gruppo Flexafilms employs 204 and reported 2000 sales of 75 million euros ($70 million), Ratti said.
Polythene Industries set shutdown, layoff
GREENOCK, SCOTLAND — British Polythene Industries plc recently announced more cost-cutting moves, including 17 layoffs and the shutdown of the Flexer Sacks Ltd. operation at Portslade, England.
The Greenock-based parent company, Europe's biggest plastics film manufacturer, also announced it met the 2000 target of 10 million ($15 million) in cost savings that it promised in May.
Its restructuring has included layoffs and plant shutdowns. The latest involved cuts in BPI's retail, consumer packaging and industrial product businesses.
Cameron McLatchie, chairman and chief executive officer, said the result of the restructuring is that BPI has maintained the "same tonnage with fewer people."
Insert Medical adds insert molding press
COSTA MESA, CALIF. — Insert Medical Molding Inc. of Costa Mesa has added a 25-ton Illinois Precision Corp. vertical rotary insert molding press with Barber-Colman computerized controls.
A servo-drive table makes the IPC unit faster than two older 25-ton IPCs at the firm, Tommy Smith, IMMI president, said by telephone. The firm also operates two 28-ton Arburgs.
Custom molder IMMI focuses on insert and overmold applications and secondary operations. Production includes peel-away needles, respirator-tube components and solution-dispensing tips. IMMI is prototyping a variety of customer products now in stages of development.
IMMI employs 15, had 2000 sales of about $300,000 and occupies 3,600 square feet, including 1,000 square feet in a Class 10,000 clean room.
Three countries tap Royal Group system
WOODBRIDGE, ONTARIO — Royal Group Technologies Ltd. has contracts to provide its building system to locations in Africa, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela for the construction of more than 11,000 dwellings.
The building system has been selected by development groups in those locations for single-family and multifamily units, said spokesman Mark Badger. The total value of the projects is nearly C$94 million (US$64 million).
A 10,000-unit project in the Dominican Republic is part of recovery work after the 1998 Hurricane Georges, Badger said.
Private developer Royal Dominicana Inc. will sell the houses to various families.
"Evaluation of the Royal Building System began a couple of years ago for this project," Badger said. "The system has been used very extensively throughout the Caribbean for a number of years."
The Abuja Investment and Property Development Corp. in Nigeria will use the system to construct 907 single-family and multifamily homes.
An additional 160 homes will be erected in Venezuela using the system's components.
That is a follow-up order to 600 homes that were built last year with components supplied by subsidiary Royalco SA, Badger said.
Publicly held Royal, based in Woodbridge ranked first in Plastics News' recent listing of North American pipe, profile and tubing extruders. The company's sales for fiscal 1999 were US$853.7 million.
Nypro invests in second Tijuana plant
TIJUANA, MEXICO — Joint venture Nypro Precision Assemblies Inc. has invested $1.25 million to create its second assembly plant in Tijuana.
The facility will start with 300 employees, with plans to reach 800 eventually. The 43,000-square-foot building expands capabilities for electronic and leak testing, heat staking, sonic welding, pad printing and mechanical assembly for products such as laptop computers, toner cartridges, irrigation equipment, mountain bike shock absorbers and cell phones.
Global precision molder Nypro Inc. of Clinton, Mass., and NPA President Fernando Velazquez own the 50-50 joint venture, which was established in 1994. A ceremony opening the new plant took place Jan. 12.
NPA employs more than 1,100 at the Tijuana assembly plants and its headquarters in Chula Vista, Calif.
Danisco invests in new coextrusion line
ILKESTON, ENGLAND — Flexible packaging firm Danisco Flexible has invested 1.6 million ($2.38 million) to install a new Windmoller & Holscher coextrusion line at its blown film plant in Ilkeston.
The addition is the facility's 10th blown film line and was needed to meet rapidly growing demand from the company's film converting operations.
The 81/2-foot-wide Varex Optifil P2 line provides three-layer coextrusion, allowing Danisco to expand into wider and more complex films. It will run a range of polymers including linear low density polyethylene, metallocenes for high-grade lamination and coextruded films, the company said.
The project called for significant structural work that included raising the plant roof 13 feet to allow for sufficient bubble-cooling height.
The line features gauge-profile control for tighter tolerances and a winding system with fully automated roll change and tension control. It has two Corona treaters to ensure treatment of both sides of the film, according to the company.
The line will be used for long runs with PE films for frozen food, confectionery and detergent packaging, and peelable films, said the company, part of packaging and food ingredients group Danisco A/S of Copenhagen, Denmark.
The line raises the plant's capacity by more than 5.5 million pounds per year.
Danisco Flexible has 25 production sites in Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
As part of Glenview, Ill.-based Illinois Tool Works Inc.'s acquisition of Huhtamaki Van Leer's two Valeron Strength Film manufacturing facilities in Houston and Essen, Belgium, ITW is changing the companies' names to Valeron Strength Films. They had been known as Van Leer Flexibles LP and NV Van Leer Muno SA.