Molded Container Corp. plans to close its Portland, Ore., plant by Sept. 30 and consolidate manufacturing at its facility in Florence, Ky. About 100 production jobs will be lost in the bankruptcy-related move.
``This is the last thing we wanted to do, but we were left with no choice,'' President Melvin Ellis said by telephone.
The maker of proprietary food packaging will relocate some of its 11 Sumitomo hydraulic injection molding machines to Florence, but plans to keep its headquarters in Portland with 18-20 administrative, finance and customer-service employees.
``We will maintain a significant portion of our containers business and focus more on [specialty] promotional products,'' he said. ``There is not enough market in the Northwest to justify a plant in our product line.''
In February the firm filed for protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. In the wake of the filing, Ellis invested $500,000 of personal funds to keep the business going. The company filed a reorganization plan with details about the closing in late June with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Portland. The plan is subject to creditors' approval, possibly in September.
``We intend to be a smaller, focused, more profitable business,'' Ellis said.
The firm had 2001 sales of about $16 million.
Even in bankruptcy, Molded Container has stayed busy, employing 127 in the rented, 80,000-square-foot Portland plant. The business has not lost key employees and has retained the support of customers and suppliers, Ellis said.
``We are cash-flow-positive at this time,'' he added.
The Kentucky work force will grow to 50-60 in peak periods from the current 36. The company leases the 50,000-square-foot Florence facility.
Molded Container was established in 1957, and Ellis acquired the business in 1991.