Cinpres to defend Steelcase in lawsuit
MIDDLEWICH, ENGLAND - Cinpres Gas Injection Ltd. will handle the legal defense for furniture maker Steelcase Inc. in a patent lawsuit over gas-assisted injection molding. Cinpres said the move demonstrates that it will stand behind its licensees.
Steelcase was sued Feb. 11 in U.S. District Court in Detroit by Melea Ltd., a Gibraltar firm that owns about 40 patents covering gas-assisted injection, and Plastic Molded Technologies Inc., doing business as Gain Technologies Inc. Sterling Heights, Mich.-based Gain is owned by Michael Ladney.
The suit is over Steelcase's award-winning chair, the Cachet. Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Steelcase licensed Cinpres technology for gas-assisted injection molding, although Cinpres was not named as a defendant.
``We're putting our attorneys in to run the case. We'll pay for them,'' Steve Jordan, a Cinpres director, said in a telephone interview.
Middlewich, England-based Cinpres and Gain have battled in courtrooms for years. The Steelcase suit, however, marked the first time Gain has sued a U.S. manufacturer of a plastic end product.
PolyOne will shut Nev. site without buyer
CLEVELAND - PolyOne Corp. plans to eliminate excess PVC film capacity by selling or closing its Yerington, Nev., operation.
The plant produces calendered film for bookbinding covers and other markets. It employs about 85. Officials did not disclose annual capacity.
PolyOne spokesman Dennis Cocco said his firm is trying to sell the plant to save employee jobs. If it cannot find a suitable buyer it will shut the facility by the end of the second quarter. Cocco said a suitable buyer would be one that would not compete with PolyOne in its continuing markets.
Cleveland-based PolyOne said it will shift Yerington's production to other plants in its engineered films business unit. Those sites are in Winchester, Va.; Lebanon, Pa.; and Burlington, N.J. The firm plans to exit low-margin markets, but it did not identify them. Cocco said Yerington's equipment might be used for spare parts if no buyer is found, but PolyOne will not restart the machinery elsewhere.
Restructuring Cascade cuts 37 jobs
GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Injection molder Cascade Engineering Inc. has cut 37 jobs as part of a restructuring aimed at continued sales growth.
The jobs were eliminated in mid-March and will improve efficiency, the Grand Rapids-based molder said. Michael Valz, president and chief operating officer, said he does not expect any other reductions related to the restructuring.
``Moving forward, we will scale our employment up or down to meet business conditions,'' he said in a news release.
Cascade employs about 1,200. The privately held company's sales climbed more than 11 percent for the past fiscal year, from $200 million.
To support the firm's long-term goal to post $1 billion in sales, the company also has created a series of ``solutions groups'' focused on specific customer needs. The teams are centered on four key areas: automotive, commercial trucks, industrial products and what Cascade terms ``emerging'' solutions.
Venture Holdings may file bankruptcy
FRASER, MICH. - Auto supplier Venture Holdings Co. LLC may be close to filing bankruptcy as part of a restructuring of its debt that would turn part of its ownership over to major creditors.
Sources familiar with negotiations said the Fraser-based firm could file for Chapter 11 protection within days - as soon as it works out final elements of a plan that also would allow it a quick exit.
Venture, which posted $1.8 billion in sales in 2001, has been in close negotiations since May, when managers for its German subsidiary, Peguform GmbH, filed for insolvency, leaving the parent company without access to one of its main sources of revenue. A German court approved the insolvency petition in October.
``I didn't expect any [bankruptcy] filing before Peguform's formal finding, but it's been five or six months since then,'' said Martin King, an analyst following Venture for New York-based Standard & Poor's. ``You would have thought that something would have happened by now.''
Privately owned Venture injection molds a variety of automotive systems, including bumper fascia and various interior and exterior trim components. It had more than $455 million in long-term debts. It already has negotiated extensions on its loan payments, but is facing another interest deadline April 15.