MPM's Netstal may have a new suitor
ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - In the latest round of hot press reports from Europe about Mannesmann Plastics Machinery AG, Swiss newspaper Blick is saying the owner of nylon producer EMS-Chemie Holding AG is ready to buy MPM's Netstal-Maschinen AG. Netstal, an injection press maker, strongly denied the story.
Blick reported in its June 15 paper that Christoph Blocher, owner of Zurich-based EMS-Chemie, will buy Netstal from the company that ends up buying MPM. The sale of MPM to a financial buyer could happen by the end of this month.
Blocher was out of the office June 15 and could not be reached for comment, his secretary said.
In Nafels, Switzerland, Dieter Klug, Netstal's president and chief executive officer, also was not available for immediate comment. But a Netstal spokesman flatly denied the story. ``This Blick editorial is wrong. It's not true that Mr. Blocher from EMS is negotiating with Netstal or MPM,'' the spokesman said June 15.
Netstal is traded on the Zurich stock exchange. MPM owns 89.8 percent of its stock. The other 10.2 percent is available on the public market.
Champion Plastics seeking Chapter 11
KETTERING, OHIO - Custom injection molder Champion Plastics Inc. has filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
The Kettering-based firm lost its largest customer last year, the firm's lawyer, Rick Nelson, said. He did not disclose the customer but said Champion has since gained new business that offsets the loss of the account. Champion's debt grew when it lost the major account, and the firm wants to reorganize to pay it down.
Champion had sales of $6.7 million last year. For the first four months of 2001 it had sales of $2.7 million. Nelson said the company now is running at full capacity. Its major markets are auto accessories and baby furniture. Champion employs about 100 and hires temporary workers.
It could take the rest of the year for Champion to come up with a reorganization plan, according to Nelson.
Venture, Expert team up for modules
FRASER, MICH. - Venture Industries Inc. is teaming up with Spanish automotive supplier Expert Corp. SL to create a new company to develop and produce front-end modules.
The move to create Venture-Expert Automotive Systems provides Venture and its European bumper-making subsidiary, Peguform GmbH & Co. KG, with access to front-end module production and helps ensure its status as a fascia provider to the industry.
A fully-loaded, front-end module can take in up to 100 different components, from the radiator to lighting to hood latches and grilles, all built around a central carrier that can be made of plastic or metal. The modules now go onto about 15 percent of all vehicles produced in Europe and North America, with European automakers typically outsourcing the production and assembly.
VEAS, based in Barcelona, Spain, is seeking partners with expertise in fan, radiator and lighting systems, the companies said.
Barcelona-based Expert began as an assembler of front-end modules for Volkswagen AG vehicles. VEAS will establish itself at Expert sites in Pamplona, Spain; Brussels, Belgium; and Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic, which already are producing modules.
Fraser, Mich.-based Venture is ranked among the 50 largest automotive suppliers in North America. Its Peguform subsidiary has 18 plants worldwide.
Plastic container tax bill stalls in Calif.
SACRAMENTO, CALIF. - A bill in the California legislature that would tax plastic containers unless recycling rates hit 50 percent appears to have stalled.
The bill from Sen. Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata, failed to get out of a state Senate committee by a June 8 deadline. While that would seem likely to doom action this year, the picture could be complicated because Senate President John Burton has called for a meeting to discuss the bill.
Legislative leaders can agree to waive the June 8 deadline.
``My assumption is it [the bill] is dead for this session, but it is the first year of a two-year session,'' said Kristin Power, director of state affairs for the Grocery Manufacturers of America in the state capital, Sacramento. ``It lives again next year.''