Demand supports bottle-resin price hike
AKRON, OHIO - North American PET makers have been able to edge prices up an average of 3 cents per pound in recent months, due largely to higher-than-expected growth in bottled-water applications and seasonal strength in carbonated soft drinks.
Coupled with an earlier, 5 cent-per-pound increase, the recent move adds up to an average increase of about 12 percent on PET bottle resin so far in 2002, according to the Plastics News resin pricing chart.
However, a PET buyer in the Southeast cautioned that the recent 3 cent move might not stick, as a result of seasonal late-year softness in demand and a recent increase in the availability of imported resin.
``Prices could go down a bit and then stay flat for the rest of the year,'' the buyer said.
A recent report from consulting firm DeWitt & Co. of Houston described global PET markets as being in ``full recovery mode,'' with bottle-resin production expected to increase an average of more than 12 percent a year through 2009. Capacity additions could be less expensive during that period as fiber-grade capacities are converted to bottle grades and reactor technologies improve, according to the report. Lower costs and prices then could push PET into more substitution roles.
Fabricators merge window operations
PARK FOREST, ILL. - Window fabricators Winstrom Manufacturing of Park Forest and Thermetic Glass Inc. of Toluca, Ill., will combine operations under a new name, Winstrom LLC.
Terms were not disclosed in the transaction, which is to close by the end of September.
The companies make both vinyl and aluminum windows. After the deal is complete, all vinyl inventory and machinery will move to an 80,000-square-foot production facility in Toluca that employs about 50, officials said.
All told, the combined firms will produce about 400 vinyl and aluminum windows per day. Winstrom employs about 75 in its 40,000-square-foot facility.
Winstrom has been in business since 1958, purchasing its vinyl profiles from Monroe, Ohio-based Dayton Technologies Inc. But that extruder is phasing out a particular double-hung window system.
``Part of the impetus was the fact that we were going to need to find a new vinyl window, so we started looking at different opportunities,'' said Michael Muckian, marketing manager for Winstrom Manufacturing.
``The Thermetic merger was a logical fit. It wasn't entirely our choice to phase out that window. We had to find a replacement for it. We're making this move in the knick of time.''
In business since 1985, Thermetic purchases its profiles from Vinyl Building Products Inc. of Oakland, N.J. Muckian would not disclose sales for either firm.
G-P delays spinoff of unit indefinitely
ATLANTA - Facing an uncertain financial market, Georgia-Pacific Corp. has decided to delay the spinoff of its consumer products and packaging business into a separate, publicly traded company. The Atlanta company did not say when it might attempt to revive the plan, but said the separation remains a viable strategy for shareholders.
``We will closely monitor business and market conditions in the coming months and will proceed when conditions are favorable for completing the separation,'' Pete Correll, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
The spinoff, authorized in May by Georgia-Pacific's board, was to have included its packaging assets formerly owned by Fort James Corp., a maker of thermoformed cups and lids acquired by Georgia-Pacific in 2000, as well as the company's reusable plastic container business.
The separation also would have involved Georgia-Pacific's consumer tissue brands and its pulp and paper operations. Those businesses together recorded $11.8 billion in 2001 sales and have about 41,000 employees, according to company documents.
Weak business conditions in Georgia-Pacific's prime building-products market and the divestiture of its Unisource paper distribution subsidiary contributed to delay the separation, the company said.