In a management-led buyout announced Oct. 25, Boltaron Performance Products LLC acquired the operating assets of Empire Plastics Inc.
President Lawrence Schorr and Dean Li, vice president and general manager, bought the rigid plastic sheet producer for an undisclosed sum. First Merit Bank NA of Akron, Ohio, and Thomas Blaige & Co., a Chicago investment bank, helped provide financing.
``We saw an opportunity in purchasing the assets and we're looking for a fresh start,'' Schorr said in a telephone interview.
Schorr was president of Empire for eight years. He said a difficult competitive environment, as well as a 30 percent increase in resin prices in the past two years, hurt the company this year.
The firm curtailed operations at its 175,000-square-foot plant in Newcomerstown, Ohio, the week of Oct. 25, and will begin hiring or rehiring 90-100 employees beginning Nov. 1, he said.
Schorr said about 500 people have applied for positions. He added that Li, who handles day-to-day operations, is working with Boeing Co. to institute a lean manufacturing program.
By cutting expenses, Boltaron can invest in more machinery, Schorr said. He plans to add a second extrusion line in the next six to 12 months. The firm also has two film calendering lines.
The company expects to generate about $25 million in sales to graphic arts firms and thermoformers. Empire produced 18 million pounds of sheet annually for such items as credit and identification cards, airplane interiors and orthotics products.
The company also does press lamination, a process where several sheets are fused into one.
Boltaron will continue to use its trademarked names: TruePrint for graphic arts and printing products, and Boltaron for aircraft and thermoforming products.
The company began in 1954 as Seiberling Rubber Co., evolving into General Tire & Rubber Co. and then GenCorp Co. Empire Plastics acquired it in 1995.