Injection molder Precise Technology Inc. is closing four plants and eliminating about 150 jobs, mainly to get rid of excess capacity left over from its recent acquisition of Courtesy Corp.
The bulk of the layoffs are coming in Precise's mold-making operations. The firm will close its tool-building operation in St. Petersburg, Fla., and consolidate it with Courtesy's large mold-making center in Buffalo Grove, Ill., said John Weeks, president and chief executive officer of North Versailles, Pa.-based Precise. He spoke in a Nov. 19 telephone interview.
The privately held company also is closing a molding and mold-making plant in Des Plaines, Ill., a small mold-making operation in Lake Geneva, Wis., it inherited from Courtesy and a general molding plant in South Grafton, Mass. The operations will close by the end of the first quarter of 2003.
The mold-making industry in general has excess capacity, and Courtesy's considerable operations in Illinois will give Precise all the capacity it needs, Weeks said.
``Courtesy by itself can handle all the work that Precise and Courtesy have done over the last three to five years,'' Weeks said. ``We will not have a capacity problem.''
Some mold-making equipment will be moved to Buffalo Grove, and the company plans to offer some employees the chance to relocate, he said.
The merger also will leave the company with some excess capacity in injection molding. The Des Plaines and South Grafton molding plants have 38 machines between them, about half of which will be moved to other Precise locations, Weeks said.
Combined, Precise and Courtesy have almost 450 injection presses and 2,300 employees. Precise bought Courtesy in a bankruptcy auction Aug. 22.
The South Grafton plant would have closed regardless of the merger with Courtesy, because the operation lost some customers that took business elsewhere as a result of online auctions, Weeks said. ``We failed to attract enough new business.''
The plant mainly served the consumer products market. Precise had invested about $5 million there since it purchased the operation in 1996 from Tredegar Molded Products, he said.
Precise closed the Des Plaines plant, which it also acquired in 1996, because it is 10 miles from Courtesy's much larger molding campus in Buffalo Grove, and the two operations both worked in the health-care market, Weeks said.
Weeks said the St. Petersburg operation, known as Precise Massie, was Precise's largest mold-making operation. The company's injection molding operation in St. Petersburg will remain open.
``There were many employees who had done their apprenticeships and their whole careers there,'' he said. ``We're trying to relocate employees.''
The Lake Geneva plant, a small, eight-person pre-production mold shop, will be moved to Buffalo Grove, he said.