Moll Industries secures line of credit
DAVIE, FLA. - Moll Industries Inc. has worked out a $12 million line of credit to maintain its business as it negotiates its Chapter 11 protection from creditors. The injection molder also was able to convert its case to a voluntary bankruptcy proceeding.
Moll was pushed into bankruptcy Sept. 6 by its largest lender, Highland Capital Management LP. With Highland's support, Moll received permission from U.S. Bankruptcy Court in San Antonio to convert the case to a voluntary Chapter 11 petition.
The credit line is being provided by several lenders, including Highland. The largest share will come from Foothill Capital Corp. in Atlanta. The financing gives Davie-based Moll stability to operate normally while the case proceeds, said Ray Battaglia, a San Antonio lawyer representing Moll. When the details of Moll's interim financing package are wrapped up, probably at a court hearing Oct. 15, that line of credit will increase to $17 million, he said.
The company is proceeding with a plan that will make Highland the majority owner of Moll when the firm emerges from bankruptcy, Battaglia said. He said Moll is to submit the plan to the court within 60 days.
Aisin USA expanding Illinois facility
MARION, ILL. - Aisin USA Manufacturing Inc. is ramping up production at its second U.S. automotive body-parts plant, with 75 employees now, and as many as 200 expected to report to work in Marion by the end of next year.
Workers are assembling sunroofs for U.S. auto production and are about to begin injection molding components for the roofs and door handles, said Tom Bennett, operations manager.
The firm has not determined yet how many presses it will install in Marion, or their size, he said; that will depend on the amount of molding parent company Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd. brings on site. The company has room to expand, with 145,000 square feet of manufacturing space on its 43-acre, southern Illinois plot.
Aisin Seiki of Kariya, Japan, also operates a U.S. plant in Seymour, Ind. Customers include Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America Inc. and Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America Inc.
Crown Cork to sell all Constar shares
PHILADELPHIA - Amending its registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Crown Cork & Seal Co. Inc. said it plans to sell all its shares of its Constar International Inc. unit.
The packaging company had said in May that it would spin off Constar, its PET bottle-making unit, in an initial public offering later in 2002. At the time, Crown Cork said it would retain a significant minority interest in Constar.
Philadelphia-based Crown Cork now has decided to increase the size of that offering and sell 16 million shares of Constar, including its entire interest in the company, Crown Cork said in a Sept. 17 news release. Constar will be sold to pay down debt and generate cash for operations.
Crown Cork could raise as much as $240 million from the offering, about $90 million more than had been planned in its previous filing.
Composites pioneer Robert Morrison dies
ASHTABULA, OHIO - Composites pioneer Robert Morrison launched his business producing bakery trays, but it was with General Motors Corp.'s sports-car mainstay that his company had its most visible impact.
Morrison, 92, died Sept. 16 at his home in Ashtabula after a long illness. His company, Molded Fiber Glass Cos. of Ashtabula, is best known for the fiberglass body it started producing for the Chevrolet Corvette in the mid-1950s.
``That was truly a very important event for the composites industry,'' said his son, Richard Morrison, who remembers when tooling drawings for the first Corvettes were made in the family basement.
Robert Morrison founded the company in 1948. Richard took over as chief executive officer and president in 1987. Robert Morrison received the first lifetime achievement award from the Composites Fabricators Association in 1998.
MFG now has 1,500 employees in 11 plants spread across seven states. It still makes parts for the Corvette and other performance cars including the Dodge Viper and the upcoming Cadillac XLR. It also supplies the marine, commercial truck and construction markets, and makes blades for wind turbines.