PolyOne Corp. of Cleveland will end its PVC compound distribution arrangement with General Polymers at the end of March.
PolyOne, which ranks as North America's largest PVC compounder, hopes to transfer customers that had bought its PVC compounds through GP over to PolyOne's own distribution unit or to direct buying from its plastic compounds and color business.
Dennis Cocco, PolyOne's chief investor and communications officer, declined to say how much volume PolyOne did through GP, but said that if all of the GP/PolyOne sales go to PolyOne's distribution unit, the unit ``is going to pick up a nice piece of business.''
GP, a Dublin, Ohio-based unit of Ashland Corp., had a track record of more than a decade with PolyOne and Geon Co., the PVC compounder that merged with M.A. Hanna Co. to form PolyOne in 2000.
GP spokesman Jim Vitek said the firm ``will do what's best for its customers and look at satisfying their needs.''
PolyOne also reported its year-end results Jan. 30. The firm lost $46 million for the year, as sales fell 15 percent to $2.7 billion. More than half of PolyOne's 2001 sales - about $1.4 billion - came from its global PVC, engineering resin and color compounds business. Sales of those products in North America were down 20 percent in 2001, while foreign sales slipped 7 percent.
In resin distribution, PolyOne's 2001 sales dropped 9 percent to $463 million. Sales in its engineered films business dropped 15 percent to $165 million.
The firm is in the midst of a restructuring that will close 18 plants - including 14 compounding sites - and eliminate 600 jobs by the end of 2002. PolyOne expects the changes to result in annual pretax savings of about $70 million. The company is investing $50 million to modernize its 20 remaining sites.
In a Jan. 31 conference call, PolyOne Chief Financial Officer David Wilson described the firm's 2001 results as ``disappointing and unacceptable.''
``We saw an abysmal level of business activity at the end of the year,'' Wilson said. ``But we started to see a welcome pickup in automotive and an improved mix in engineered films.''
Cocco added PolyOne has begun to see some crossover business where wire and cable customers are buying color products as well.