Smiths buying Medex for $925 million
LONDON - Smiths Group has agreed to pay $925 million to buy medical plastics processor and device maker Medex Inc., significantly expanding Smiths' capabilities in critical-care devices.
Medex, which was spun off from conglomerate Saint Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. in 2001, makes intravenous catheters, syringe pumps and other infusion-related equipment. London-based Smiths will pay $625 million in cash and assume $300 million of Medex debt.
The two companies did not disclose details of how operations will be combined, but said senior management at Carlsbad, Calif.-based Medex will remain in place for at least a year.
Medex expects to have sales of $330 million in 2004, with operating profit of $75 million. In 2003, the firm posted a loss of $7 million, but Smiths said that included a number of one-time charges.
The acquisition is expected to push sales of Smiths' medical unit to $1.25 billion annually, out of total corporate sales of $4.8 billion.
Star may face fines after press accident
LITTLE FERRY, N.J. - Federal safety regulators are proposing $229,000 in fines against a Little Ferry maker of plastic kitchen utensils, Star Manufacturing Inc., after an employee's fingers were amputated in a May 24 press accident.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration accused the company Dec. 2 of six willful violations, the agency's most severe category, and 15 serious violations. The willful charges range from failure to establish lockout/tagout and hazardous chemical programs, to failure to guard machinery and cover openings containing live electrical parts.
The agency is proposing $200,000 in fines for the willful violations, which it defines as ``intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to,'' safety regulations. Fines for the 15 serious charges, which include failure to provide personal protective equipment and to institute a ``hearing conservation'' program, total $29,000.
Company officials said they had no comment.
Star has a Dec. 15 session with OSHA to negotiate the fine.
Termax merging plastics, metal units
SCHAUMBURG, ILL. - Automotive fastener maker Termax Corp. entered the plastics industry in 2003, buying a small Illinois injection molder to combine it with its own metal stamped parts.
Now Termax is investing about $5.4 million to bring its plastics and metal operations all under one roof.
Termax, now based in Schaumburg, spent $4 million on a 76,000-square-foot facility in the nearby Chicago suburb of Lake Zurich and through the next year will consolidate production and offices in three buildings into the Lake Zurich site, President William Smith said in a Dec. 7 telephone interview.
The metal specialist bought the assets of Hawthorn Mold of Mundelein to offer a combination of metal and plastics to its automotive customers, he said. Termax specializes in fasteners used on interior components such as pillars.
The injection molding unit will operate out of 30,000 square feet in Lake Zurich, with 37 of the firm's 112 total employees working on the plastics side, Smith said.
* MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Packaging giant Amcor Ltd. has replaced Managing Director Russell Jones and another top executive after allegations that they were involved in a pricing cartel for Amcor's corrugated box business. Jones and Peter Sutton, managing director of Amcor Australasia, resigned Dec. 7 from the Melbourne firm after accusations surfaced of Amcor executives sharing confidential information with competitors on corrugated pricing. The firm reported that information to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and an investigation has started.
* WASHINGTON - The Environmental Protection Agency filed another claim Dec. 6 against DuPont Co. charging that the company withheld human exposure data about a chemical used to make fluoropolymers. EPA said DuPont did not tell the government about blood tests of 12 people near its Parkersburg, W. Va., plant that showed levels of perfluorooctanoic acid in their bodies that was between three and 25 times levels typically found in people in the United States. The agency proposed fining the company up to $1.5 million. In July, EPA first charged DuPont with withholding health data about PFOA, and said it would likely seek several million dollars in fines. Now EPA wants to combine both charges. A trial is set to start on Dec. 16.