PolyOne Corp. announced the closing of elastomers and performance additives plants in DeForest, Wis., and Wynne, Ark., on the same date that the firm revealed it lost almost $69 million in the first nine months of 2003.
The closings will eliminate 230 jobs and provide Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne with pretax savings of $7.5 million annually, officials said in an Oct. 29 news release. The DeForest site makes rubber compounds, while the Wynne location makes rubber additives.
PolyOne reported its third- quarter results Oct. 28. The $68.5 million nine-month loss occurred as overall sales totaled $1.9 billion, roughly flat vs. the same period in 2002. PolyOne lost about $41 million in the first nine months of 2002.
Sales in PolyOne's performance plastics unit - including PVC compounds and color compounds and concentrates - were up more than 2 percent in the nine-month period. The unit accounted for about 70 percent of total PolyOne sales.
The earnings report and Oct. 29 conference call with analysts came a week after PolyOne announced plans to sell its elastomers and performance additives, engineered films and specialty resins businesses. Those units accounted for more than $600 million in sales last year and employ about 2,300 - one-third of the firm's workforce.
During the call, President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Waltermire said the firm had no deadline to sell the assets, but he added that ``some people have come forward and expressed interest who weren't in [PolyOne's] original thinking'' since the plan was announced. Officials declined to offer details.
Waltermire also highlighted some recent management changes:
* In the films group, Denis Belzile is now the unit's top official, replacing David Quester, who left the company. Belzile had been in charge of PolyOne's formulators business.
* The formulators business now is headed by Franois C"te, who already had been running PolyOne's specialty resins business.
* Lance Mitchell, vice president for plastic compounds and color, has been assigned to focus full-time on turning around PolyOne's color compounds and concentrates and engineered materials segments, which have struggled in recent years. PolyOne veteran Rob Rosenau will have increased responsibility in PVC compounds, formulators and specialty resins while Mitchell focuses on the other units.
Although the firm was profitable in September and October, unpredictable sales and weather conditions could impact PolyOne's performance for the rest of the year, said Chief Financial Officer David Wilson.
``The period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a wild card as far as how much inventory restocking will be done by our customers,'' he said. ``And it only takes one cold storm to go over Canada for the price of [plastic feedstock] natural gas to go up a dollar or so.''