Leading laminated plastic tube manufacturer Betts UK plans to hand over its specialty injection molding business to Nypro Inc.
The deal will result in a phased transfer during the next year of work and equipment from one of Betts' two plants in Colchester, England, to Clinton, Mass.-based Nypro. The business will go to one or more of Nypro's facilities, probably in Europe.
Betts' specialty molding unit in Colchester, with annual sales of £15 million ($27 million), will be phased out gradually, finally closing in September 2005 with the loss of 200 jobs. The change will leave the firm free to focus all its efforts on its more successful global tubes division.
Betts decided it could not devote the resources needed to keep the injection molding business competitive globally.
``Nypro is uniquely placed to develop the business to a level which Betts would not have been able to support,'' Betts UK Managing Director Rosemary Mason said in a news release.
Colchester-based Betts, formerly part of British industrial group Courtaulds plc, runs more than 100 injection presses with clamping forces of 150-300 tons. It molds a range of products including caps, closures, food containers and chiefly parts for medical devices, such as asthma inhalers.
A Nypro spokesman said the company will switch an undetermined number of Betts injection presses from Colchester to Nypro plants in Europe, where the new business will be handled.
The destinations of the work will depend on talks with customers, but may include facilities in Wrexham, Wales; Bray, Ireland; Chartres, France; or even a second plant Nypro plans for France that could be in operation by later next year, he said.
Betts said it will keep some of the presses.
``Betts will continue to injection mold at Colchester for its tube-making business,'' said Betts Director Neville Chapman.
Gradual layoffs at Betts' Colchester site will begin in March, and the companies said they will try to find employees alternative work. Talks are taking place between Betts managers and officials from two British trades unions.
In December 2002, Betts closed a smaller, specialty molding plant in Wrexham, eliminating 97 jobs.
Betts, a world leader in laminated tube production for the oral-care market, operates six other tube plants outside Britain, in Florence, Ky., Poland, China, Indonesia, India and Brazil.
Most of those plants injection mold caps for tubes.