Omnium improving recyclable bumper
DETROIT- French automotive molder Plastic Omnium Co. this year will launch the second generation of an automotive bumper designed to improve recyclability while also using recycled material.
The firm, based in Levallaois, France, first began producing the polyolefin bumper in July 2002 for the Renault SA Megane. The bumper system replaces metal connections with plastic components, reduces overall weight by 20 percent and can be dismantled in less than one minute.
The updated unit set for production later this year will use 61/2 pounds of recycled polypropylene generated from worn-out garbage containers, Plastic Omnium sales representative David Kramer said during the Society of Plastics Engineers' Global Plastics Environmental Conference. The event was held Feb. 18 in Detroit.
The recycled plastic will be used as the substrate, with virgin material for the outer skin.
Hunter execs in suit
over pension funds
ONTARIO, CALIF. - Several former executives of Hunter Mold and Manufacturing Inc., a mold builder in Ontario, face a lawsuit from the U.S. government for allegedly mismanaging company pension funds.
The Department of Labor filed a civil suit March 3 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, charging that three executives - David and Karen Bresson and Thomas Marsh - used money intended for the pension fund to pay other company expenses. Hunter shut down in August 2001.
``Company officials used funds from the 401(k) plan for the company's general use,'' said Billy Beaver, regional director of the Los Angeles field office of the Employee Benefits Security Administration, in a news release.
The government is not alleging the money went for personal use.
Labor Department spokeswoman Deanne Amaden said the pension fund was shortchanged $39,000. The government is seeking at least $7,647 in lost interest from the three executives.
The company's insurance carrier paid the $39,000. Thomas Marsh has agreed to pay $4,500, settling his involvement, Amaden said.
David Bresson, who sold the company in 2000, maintained in a March 9 telephone interview that the problems happened after February 2001, when new owners named Marsh president.
At that point, Bresson said, he no longer was in control of the firm, but was retained as an employee. He said he did not think he owed the government money and he said he has not retained a lawyer.
Marsh, who is now president of medical device maker Viking Systems Inc. in La Jolla, Calif., said that as Hunter lost contracts, it did not have the cash flow to pay the pension, payroll or some other bills.
For the year prior to when Hunter shut down, the company was on a financial rollercoaster.
Bresson and his wife, Karen, sold Hunter to injection molder Co-Mack Technology Inc. in late 2000. Co-Mack, however, was struggling, and a few months later, its bankers forced it to spin off Hunter, in an attempt to recoup some of their investment, according to Joe McRoskey, the president of Co-Mack at the time.
Marsh had been chief operating officer of Co-Mack.
The Labor Department continues to seek money from Bresson. Amaden said the government considers Bresson responsible because he continued to be listed as a fiduciary on the pension plan.
Amaden declined to specify over what period of time the pension funds were shortchanged. She said the government examined records from January 1999 to August 2001.
adding 5 faster lines
SUTTON-IN-ASHFIELD, ENGLAND - PVC profile extruder Synseal Extrusions Ltd. is investing 4 million ($7.5 million) to expand and add five high-speed extrusion lines.
The investment includes a 27,000-square-foot expansion to its plant in Sutton-in-Ashfield. The addition to the 421,000-square-foot plant also will house a new mixing facility. The firm currently operates 25 extrusion lines.
The expansion will allow for growth, leaving space for as many as 15 additional lines.
The company serves the construction market, making window profiles and sunroom roof systems. Synseal said it processed about 60 million pounds of PVC last year.
Linpac agrees to sell
paperboard box unit
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Rapid growth in Linpac Group's plastics packaging operations worldwide has prompted the company to jettison Linpac Containers, its original United Kingdom corrugated paperboard box business.
The Birmingham company agreed to sell the business to London-based DS Smith plc for 170 million ($312 million) in cash.
``[Linpac Containers] has a current turnover of 164 million ($300 million) and is performing well. However, within Linpac its growth opportunities are limited,'' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Williams said in a news release. ``In recent years, it has been overtaken by the rapid growth of our various plastics-related activities around the world.''
The businesses being sold employ 1,320 at eight plants. While DS Smith also has a growing plastics packaging division, the bulk of its business is in paper packaging.
The sale is the latest transaction by Linpac following its August takeover by London-based investment firm Montagu Private Equity for $1.43 billion. Linpac has sold or closed several peripheral activities in Europe and the United States, and acquired Infia srl, a Bertinoro, Italy-based maker of polypropylene and amorphous PET food trays, early this year.