Morton Industrial Group Inc. announced March 31 it is seeking a buyer for the assets of Morton Custom Plastics, its last plastics operation.
In December, the Morton, Ill.-based company sold its other five plastics plants, which performed a mix of injection molding and thermoforming, to thermoformer Wilbert Inc. of Chicago for an undisclosed amount.
``After the others were sold, it didn't make sense to keep one plastics facility,'' Rod Harrison, Morton Industrial vice president of finance, said of the remaining site, in West Des Moines, Iowa. ``Our core competency is in sheet-metal fabrication.''
The 115,000-square-foot plant employs about 175.
Harrison said Morton Industrial, principal owner of MCP, previously had talked with Wilbert regarding the sale of the West Des Moines site as well, but negotiations apparently have broken down.
Curtis Zamec, Wilbert chief executive officer, chairman and president, was traveling and not available for comment. With sales of $140 million, Wilbert is No. 9 on Plastics News' ranking of North American thermoformers.
Harrison said other companies have approached Morton Industrial, a producer of components and assemblies for industrial original equipment manufacturers, about MCP. The plant is listed as having a value of $8.9 million on Morton Industrial's 2002 annual report, released March 31.
The facility's presses have clamping forces of 80-2,200 tons. Harrison did not disclose the number of machines.
Morton Industrial reported gross profit of $15 million in 2002, down from $15.7 million in 2001. Its sales decreased to $116.6 million last year from $127.1 million.
``We, like most American manufacturing companies, entered 2002 expecting our economy to improve during the last half of the year,'' William D. Morton, Morton Industrial's chairman, president and CEO, said in a news release. ``This recovery did not materialize and, given the global challenges in front of us, may not do so during 2003.''
On March 7, Morton Industrial announced it had extended its credit facility by nine months, revising its maturity date to April 1, 2004. The company said the move was made, in part, to support MCP.