Alcan Packaging is on the verge of selling its British rigid plastics containers business, Fibrenyle, to packaging and automotive parts company Polimoon A/S.
Alcan Packaging, part of Alcan Inc. of Montreal, and Polimoon executives are in the final stages of negotiation and were expected to sign a deal the week of Oct. 27, the companies said. The 640-strong Fibrenyle workforce has been informed of the pending deal.
Fibrenyle of Beccles, England, produces injection and blow molded bottles, tubes and closures at four plants in Beccles, Norwich, Thetford and Sutton-in-Ashfield, England. The company serves customers in the food, pharmaceuticals, still beverages, household goods, cosmetics and agrichemicals markets, including Unilever and Sara Lee Household and Body Care.
Alcan has made some capital investment in the Fibrenyle operations since it took over in 2000. More recently, it paid almost 1 million ($1.7 million) to install a Techne 4000 extrusion blow molding machine and ancillary equipment at the Beccles plant to handle production of soap-dispenser bottles for Sara Lee.
Alcan put Fibrenyle up for sale following a review of its packaging operations earlier this year. Alcan has flexible and rigid plastics packaging units around the world.
``Fibrenyle is a nice business, but did not fit that well in our portfolio. It is better for both Fibrenyle and for Alcan that we find a new owner for it - someone who is willing to keep it as a going concern,'' said Zurich, Switzerland-based Alcan Packaging spokesman John Gardner.
Oslo, Norway-based Polimoon confirmed Oct. 23 it was in talks to acquire Fibrenyle. Chief Financial Officer Adrian Platt said negotiations were progressing well.
Overall, Alcan is expanding its global packaging business. In May it completed the acquisition of the flexible packaging operations of VAW Aluminium AG.
Alcan is set to receive a massive boost by the end of this year, when the company expects to acquire aluminum and packaging giant Pechiney SA of Paris. The purchase will make it a world leader in the market, with a $6 billion packaging business, said Gardner.
Fibrenyle is a 50-year-old company that has changed hands several times in recent years. Alcan bought the former Lawson Mardon business from Algroup of Zurich.
Meantime, Polimoon has opened a low-cost plastic components plant in R"ngu, Estonia. The $2.5 million Polimoon Eesti facility is on the site of former molder Rongu Tehas Uy, which Polimoon acquired last year.
The new, 32,000-square-foot plant is taking on work from Polimoon's automotive parts plant in Soderkoping, Sweden, which is being closed with a loss of 145 jobs, said Platt. The Soderkoping facility makes injection molded nylon and polypropylene parts including air-bag covers and dashboards.
``[The] Soderkoping plant has been losing around 2 million [$3.3 million] a year. It failed for us, so we have had to close it,'' Platt said.
All but half a dozen of about 50 injection machines already have been transferred to other Polimoon parts plants, including the new Eesti unit and the industrial division's biggest facility, in Zevenaar, the Netherlands.
Polimoon recorded a pretax profit of 154 million Norwegian krona ($22 million) on sales of NKr 1.7 billion ($240 million) in 2002. The company was spun off from Dyno A/S in 1999.