Battery casing molder Lorival Plastics Ltd., which recently was forced to diversify into garden furniture and gaming machine components, has been taken over by administrators.
The Bolton, England, company continues to operate, and administrators are trying to sell it as a going concern. Efforts to find a buyer already have attracted about 30 inquiries.
"We have had a good response and have already shown a number of interested parties around the business," said William Dawson, a representative of Deloitte & Touche in Manchester, England, and one of the administrators.
Lorival, founded in 1934, once was a thriving part of the Chloride plc battery manufacturing group, which at its peak employed 2,000. In 1990, the molder was acquired by Nottingham, England-based Melton Medes Ltd., through its polymer division, Bluegilt Ltd. of Bolton.
Lorival has experienced a drop in sales and profit in the past few years. In 1998 the company reported a loss of 600,000 ($864,720) on sales of 11.6 million ($16.7 million). In 2000 it reported a loss of 1.4 million ($2 million) on sales of 8.8 million ($12.7 million).
Part of the problem was a saturated European market for battery cases, and a decision by battery company Exide Corp. of Reading, Pa., to manufacture its own casings in-house, according to a spokeswoman for the administrators.
With Lorival's market falling away, the company tried to compensate by building its custom molding business. Early this year it expanded capacity by buying the plant and machinery of another failing molder, Elford Plastics Ltd.
The company called in the administrators March 20.
Lorival, which has a work force of 225, operates from a leased, 11-acre site at Bolton. It runs 73 injection presses, with clamping forces of 55-1,650 tons. In addition, the firm has compression molding and structural foam molding equipment.
Before Lorival passed into the hands of the administrators, the company laid off 17 workers. Since the end of March, an additional 26 jobs have been cut.