Pannonplast plc has closed one of two mold-making plants operated by subsidiary Dexter Mould Making Co., is expanding Polifoam Plastic Processing Ltd. foam sheet production into Russia, and is converting some Moldin Plastics Ltd. injection molding capacity to make up for shrinking orders in electronics.
Pannonplast closed Dexter's tooling facility in Debrecen, Hungary, in May, blaming delayed orders from recession-struck customers.
Nearly 40 jobs were lost. Some equipment has been transferred to Dexter's other operation, in Budapest, Hungary, which is being expanded. Dexter also appointed a new managing director, Miklos Rimer.
Meanwhile, Pannonplast joint venture Polifoam of Budapest plans to expand foam sheet production into Russia by launching a 2.2 million-pound-per-year, $4.7 million plant in Moscow to make cross-linked polyethylene insulation foam.
The new, 43,200-square-foot facility, known as Trocellen RUS, will have two sheet lines and will employ as many as 30 when it starts production in June, according to Erika Jilling, Pannonplast vice president of finance.
Polifoam products are used in construction insulation, automotive, packaging and shoe manufacturing. Last year the firm's exports to Russia exceeded 220,000 pounds, accounting for sales of about $550,000. Budapest-based Pannonplast owns 51 percent of Polifoam; the rest is owned by HT Troplast AG of Troisdorf, Germany.
Another Pannonplast subsidiary - injection molder Moldin Plastics of Budapest - has been hit by Hewlett-Packard Co.'s decision to move all printer-part production to the Far East.
Moldin serves the electronics, automotive and home appliance markets.
During 2000 and 2001, Moldin installed 27 Krauss-Maffei injection presses at a total cost of about $8 million, to make inkjet printer housings for HP. Last year it spent another $850,000 on facilities for painting and small-part installation.
HP orders dwindled last year and Moldin is converting to make other products, according to Pannonplast.
Despite the tight market conditions, Pannonplast saw its 2001 sales rise 13 percent to about $125 million, although profit was down about 23 percent to about $1.3 million.