Spartech Corp. is closing a sheet extrusion plant in Taylorville, Ill., and boosting capacity at its site in Donchery, France.
Spartech plans to shut down the Taylorville facility April 24, affecting at least 53 workers. Clayton-based Spartech owns the 39,000-square-foot sheet and roll-stock plant and leases 5,000 square feet of office space.
Spartech first announced plans to close some plants on Feb. 10. Bradley Buechler, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said at the firm's March 9 annual meeting that the restructuring includes ``the consolidation of capacity at two facilities possessing similar capabilities with other existing operations.''
Meanwhile, Spartech's $9 million investment at Donchery includes the installation of its second sheet extrusion line there, to meet growing demand. It expects to start the new line in late April or early May, according to George Abd, executive vice president of color and specialty compounds. Spartech started its first sheet line at the site about five months ago, Abd said in a telephone interview.
Both lines will supply multilayer sheet of polyethylene and ethylene vinyl alcohol for Visteon Corp. to thermoform into fuel tanks for Volkswagen's Passat vehicle. Abd said the second line also might pick up other work.
The identical lines will have six-layer dies for the Visteon contract, but the machine configuration allows seven dies.
The Donchery investment also covers new twin-screw compounding equipment to support Spartech's European color and specialty compounds business, which grew a year ago when it bought BASF AG's specialty polystyrene compounds business. Abd said his firm has committed to a further $6 million in capital lease payments for the facility.
The operation is Spartech's only one in Europe. Buechler said in a news release that the site will expand the firm's product line, increase its presence in Europe and expose it to new markets.
Spartech acquired the Taylorville plant, once known as Alma Plastics, in its August 1997 purchase of Echlin Inc.'s Preferred Plastic Sheet Division.
Spartech is North America's largest extruder of custom rigid plastic sheet and roll stock. The firm reported profit of $42.1 million on sales of $1.12 billion for the fiscal year ended Oct. 30. At that time, it employed about 3,750.