HOUSTON - Gundle/SLT Environmental Inc. plans to boost its stake in geomembranes by acquiring Serrot International Inc., a subsidiary of Waste Management Inc. of Houston.
Gundle/SLT, also of Houston, said Jan. 23 that it will spend $30 million on the deal, which is scheduled to be completed within a few days of its announcement. Serrot had sales, including earnings from related installation operations, of $122.4 million for the first nine months of 2001. Gundle/SLT's sales in the period were $127.9 million and its profit was $827,000.
Gundle/SLT said it will consolidate Serrot's U.S. manufacturing operations in Henderson, Nev., and Wellford, S.C., into its own in Houston, Spearfish, S.D., and Kingstree, S.C. It also said it will combine the firms' installation operations in the United States, Germany and United Kingdom.
Roger Klatt, Gundle/SLT executive vice president and chief financial officer, said his firm will continue production at Serrot's two manufacturing plants in Canada and retain a minority interest in a German manufacturing joint venture.
Though many of the companies' product lines overlap, Gundle/SLT makes geotextiles, but Serrot does not; Serrot produces geosynthetic clay liners, Gundle/SLT does not. Both firms sell into landlfill, mining and industrial markets.
The deal is contingent on Gundle/SLT arranging $80 million of financing, including $45 million of refinancing.
Huhtamaki closing Nyman plant in R.I.
EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Finnish packaging firm Huhtamaki Oyj will close a thermoforming plant in East Providence by the end of October, part of an ongoing reworking of its U.S. operations.
The Espoo, Finland, firm has shifted several operations to different facilities over the past six months, after completing a late-1990s acquisition spree that gave it 15 U.S. plants.
Now, the company is in the midst of meshing those plants together and assessing their efficiency, said Dan Grubbs, spokesman for Huhtamaki Americas, based in DeSoto, Kan.
``It's an economic decision for Huhtamaki Americas to do that,'' Grubbs said in a Jan. 24 telephone interview from Finland. ``Our decision is part of a continual process when you acquire organizations and fold them into a single company. There's no beginning or end to that.''
The Rhode Island plant formerly was headquarters for Nyman Manufacturing Co, acquired in 1997. It thermoforms disposable plastic tableware and cups and employs about 190.
By late fall, the plant's thermoforming lines will be moved to other U.S. facilities and the plant closed, Grubbs said.
In August, the company started moving the paperboard manufacturing work out of Rhode Island but continued to make plastics packaging there. Huhtamaki also closed a rigid-plastics plant in Mount Carmel, Pa., at the end of 2001.
Recyclers oppose EU-modified goals
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - Plastics recyclers are warning that a European Union proposal to count chemical recovery as a means of achieving a new 20 percent plastic recycling target will jeopardize the future of recycling in the region.
Recyclers also accuse packaging fillers and resin producers of failing to act in support of the European recycling effort. The other players claim to be in favor of recycling, but, in practice, follow ``hidden agendas,'' according to Bernard Merkx, president of European Plastics Recyclers, a regional trade association.
Millions of pounds of packaging waste collected in Europe is shipped out to China and other Asian countries in the interests of short-term gains, Merkx said.
In a statement, Brussels-based EuPR said counting the chemical process of depolymerization toward meeting EU's revised Packaging and Packaging Waste directive will dilute the quality of plastics material collected for processing and exacerbate problems of securing enough clean, high-grade waste at ``a fair price.'' EuPR, whose members include Europe's top 50 plastics recycling firms, claims the new 20 percent plastics packaging target, to be achieved by EU member states by 2006, can be met by the mechanical recovery route alone.
Currently, mechanical recyclers handle just over 10 percent of Europe's plastics packaging waste.
The recyclers plan to lobby the European Commission and EU state governments to drop the inclusion of the depolymerization process in the 20 percent recycling target.
Merkx expects the revised directive, already two years behind schedule, to take another 12-18 months before it is in force.