Morton Custom Plastics is poised for growth following a year in which its parent company restructured.
The Harrisburg, N.C.-based plastics unit has lined up $40 million worth of new annual sales in a variety of markets, said President and Chief Operating Officer Haskell Knight. It and outside mold makers are building about 250 molds for new jobs, he said by telephone.
Morton Custom Plastics' sales jumped to $142 million last year from $120 million logged in 2001. Its markets include electronics, business machines, appliances and lawn and garden equipment. Parent firm Morton Industrial Group Inc. saw sales slip 15 percent to $236.4 million as its metals businesses felt the impact of the recession. Morton recorded a net loss of $16.1 million in 2001.
Knight said his firm has lined up $10 million in new financing from GE Capital to help fund growth. It is working with GE Operations, a GE Plastics unit, to adopt Six Sigma quality control at its plants.
Knight said the plastics division did not downsize while Morton Industrial restructured last year. Morton Industrial said it consolidated divisions and reduced staff by more than 1,000, or nearly a third of its employees. The leaner firm has landed new business, which bodes well for its financial performance in 2002, said William Morton, chairman, president and chief executive officer of the Morton, Ill., firm.
Morton Custom Plastics acquired most of its plastics processing assets from Worthington Industries Inc. a few years ago. It is current in its residual payments to Worthington and is negotiating a future, disputed payment, Knight said. Worthington recently claimed buyers of three of its former businesses were having difficulty meeting residual payments and it took a third-quarter charge to cover potential losses relating to nonpayments.
A Worthington spokeswoman declined to elaborate on the residual payments.