Royal auditors find no wrongdoing
WOODBRIDGE, ONTARIO - Forensic auditors have found no evidence of improper conduct in transactions between building products giant Royal Group Technologies Ltd. and the Royal St. Kitts beach resort development that is majority-owned by Vic De Zen, Royal's founder.
Woodbridge-based Royal hired Kroll Lindquist Avey of Toronto in December to investigate the relationship.
``Although Kroll found no evidence of conduct or actions calculated to improperly shift costs to the company from the St. Kitts project, the Kroll investigation determined that a number of factors existed which did provide such opportunity,'' Kroll said in its conclusion. It cited weakness in the information systems at Royal and added that Royal had no additional controls for independent scrutiny of the St. Kitts project.
``I believe Kroll's findings validate what I previously stated - that the business transactions between Royal Group and the resort were done on appropriate commercial terms,'' De Zen said in an April 29 statement.
Canadian tax authorities, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Ontario Securities Commission continue to investigate.
``The status of the OSC investigation hasn't changed,'' Mike Watson, OSC enforcement director, said April 30.
Chroma, Riverdale form color alliance
MCHENRY, ILL. - It's one colorful strategy - colorant suppliers Chroma Corp. and Riverdale Color Manufacturing Inc. are forming an alliance supported by machinery maker Maguire Products Inc.
Under the agreement, expected May 3, Chroma will relocate its liquid color division, Injecta Color, to Riverdale's 2-year-old plant in Perth Amboy, N.J. Riverdale will become the alliance's specialist in liquid color, while Chroma will formulate and produce pelletized color concentrates at its McHenry plant.
Chroma's McHenry plant also will distribute liquid colorants to customers in the Midwest and on the West Coast.
Chroma and Riverdale remain separate companies.
Maguire of Aston, Pa., makes blenders, feeders and granulators. Its role in the alliance is to expand materials-handling and technical field services.
Pepsi, Coke to discuss recycling issues
CHICAGO - Major soft drink companies, their trade association and their PET bottle supply chain will hold a meeting to discuss difficulties in the PET recycling industry.
The meeting, set for May 11 in Chicago, comes after the recycling industry's lead trade group, the Arlington, Va.-based Association of Postconsumer Plastic Recyclers, warned in February that the industry is in a crisis because of stagnant collection and booming exports to China.
PepsiCo. Inc. spokesman Larry Jabbonsky said invitations are coming from Pepsi, Coca-Cola Co. and the National Soft Drink Association. He said other soft drink companies could be involved.
PET industry sources familiar with the invitations said that they mention APR statements but don't offer details on what's likely to come out of the meeting. One source said the involvement of Coke and Pepsi ``has gotten a lot of people very excited.''
``I really don't know what they hope to accomplish by it,'' another source said. Several sources said the meeting does not include plastics industry trade groups.
Dow reports 1Q profit; job cuts coming
MIDLAND, MICH. - Dow Chemical Co.'s strong financial gains in the first quarter were tempered by news that the firm will cut 3,000 more jobs in 2004.
The 3,000 job cuts represent more than 6 percent of Dow's staff at the end of 2003. Dow cut 3,500 jobs in 2003. The new cuts will take place globally through reorganization, attrition, shutdowns and divestitures, J. Pedro Reinhard, executive vice president and chief financial officer, said in a news release.
First-quarter profit at Midland-based Dow skyrocketed to $469 million, more than six times greater than its first-quarter profit last year. Sales jumped 15 percent to $9.3 billion.
Combined first-quarter sales for plastics and performance plastics were up 15 percent vs. 2003 to almost $4.4 billion. Pretax profit at those units - which made up more than 47 percent of Dow's total sales - ballooned 82 percent to $498 million.
The gains were due to strong volume growth in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America, and to productivity improvements, said Reinhard.