Westvaco unit purchasing Poly-Matrix
NEW YORK - Westvaco Corp. subsidiary AGI Media Packaging on Aug. 15 acquired privately held Lakewood Industries Inc. of Pittsfield, Mass.
Lakewood, which does business as Poly-Matrix, employs about 210. The company makes specialty plastic components for optical and other entertainment packaging and has annual sales of about $28 million. The deal accelerates Westvaco's role in the growing market for digital versatile discs and its strategy to add plastics operations to its traditional paper capabilities.
Lakewood's customers include AGI, AOL-Time Warner Inc. and other entertainment industry suppliers.
Lakewood Industries is the parent of toolmaker Lakewood Mold and package producers Poly-Matrix and Poly CD. George Rufo Sr. founded family-operated Lakewood in 1960 and retired in 1991. His sons will continue to operate the business under New York-based Westvaco with George Rufo Jr. as president, David Rufo as vice president of sales and Steven Rufo as vice president of administration and strategic planning.
Westvaco's plastics operations include injection molder DuBois Holdings Ltd. of Corby, England, which it bought in August 2000.
Douglas Stephen union drive continues
PATERSON, N.J. - Unionization efforts will continue at packaging producer Douglas Stephen Plastics despite layoffs of some of the organizers.
The Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees wants to organize the injection molding and thermoforming operation in Paterson, said union director Ira Stern. He claimed several employees involved in the organization drive were fired June 15, shortly after unionization efforts began.
Company Vice President Doug Graff denied that workers were let go because of the union drive. He blamed 14 layoffs on slower sales due to a sluggish economy. The firm now employs about 150 making food-service disposables.
Graff said UNITE wants management to accept the union without a vote among employees, a step management will not agree to. Stern did not elaborate on the union's next move at the plant, but he said it will complain to the Labor Relations Board about the recent layoffs.
Apex to offer C.A. Lawton equipment
CHICAGO - Apex Plastics Technologies has expanded its thermoset machinery offerings by adding equipment made by C.A. Lawton Co.
Apex, based in Chicago, will offer Lawton's compression and transfer molding equipment, plasticators and automated systems. Lawton of Green Bay, Wis., and Apex announced the agreement Aug. 6.
Apex also is sales agent for Milacron's thermoset injection molding machines, Hunziker deflashers and Apex stuffers.
Lawton has been making compression molding equipment and related machinery since 1935.
Seoil opens first U.S. facility in Ohio
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - Seoil Industrial Co. Ltd. of Seoul recently opened its first U.S. facility, a 32,000-square-foot extrusion plant in Zanesville, Ohio, built to meet demand for Kraft Foods Inc.'s popular Capri Sun juice pouches.
The company has been producing small plastic drink straws for Kraft single-serve juice pouches and boxes for two decades, said U.S. operations President J.T. Kim. Seoil renewed its $5 million-a-year contract to supply Kraft three years ago to meet increased demand for that specific product, Kim said in an Aug. 17 telephone interview.
The Zanesville facility could expand to serve other customers.
``We are sitting on a 9-acre lot here; we have a lot of room for expansion,'' Kim said. ``The 4.2 billion capacity is only for one customer - that's the whole purpose of this venture. Eventually we'll be supplying to other customers as well.''
The straws will be extruded on six lines built in-house by Seoil, he said. The new plant just sent its first test batches to Glenview, Ill.-based Kraft.
Seoil has hired six workers and expects to have 25-30 soon. Within three years the plant will employ 50, Kim said.
The company picked Zanesville because of its available work force and a 75 percent tax abatement from the community.
``Availability of work forces is more important for us [than tax incentives]. That wasn't very easy to get,'' Kim said. ``I traveled from Kansas to Virginia two years ago [when] the economy in the U.S. was booming, and it was difficult to get available work forces.''
Engineers from South Korea have been brought over to help train workers, Kim said.
Seoil operates two facilities in South Korea and one in Indonesia. The firm also has interests in joint ventures in Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Vietnam, Chile, Colombia and South Africa. The South Korean operations generate annual sales of $35 million, Kim said.
Kim said the company plans to expand to the West Coast and Southeast eventually.