BP prepares to take Innovene unit public
CHICAGO - BP plc has filed for an initial public offering of stock in its Innovene unit, one of the world's largest makers of polypropylene and high density polyethylene.
In a Sept. 12 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, BP officials set no date for the IPO, but said it could raise as much as $1 billion. No information about the number of shares issued or on how large a stake BP would retain was included in the filing.
Chicago-based Innovene had pro forma sales of almost $18 billion in 2004, when it posted a loss of $260 million. In the first half of 2005, the unit's sales were $11.1 billion and it turned a profit of $540 million.
Innovene ranks third globally in PP production, with annual capacity of 5.7 billion pounds. It holds the same position in HDPE with annual capacity of 4.8 billion pounds. The unit also produces other specialty plastics and feedstocks and operates two oil refineries.
In 2004, Innovene's largest unit was its European olefins and polymers business, which generated about 40 percent of total sales. The firm employs more than 8,500 at 26 sites worldwide. BP first announced plans to sell or spin off the business in April 2004.
In North America, Innovene makes PP at plants in Alvin and Deer Park, Texas, and Carson, Calif. Innovene's North American HDPE works are in Deer Park and Cedar Bayou, Texas.
Innovene would become the fifth plastics and chemicals firm to go public since mid-2004, joining the ranks of Westlake Chemical Corp., Celanese Corp., Huntsman Corp. and Lanxess AG. Oil producer Total SA is considering a similar move with its Arkema plastics and chemicals business.
K-Tron unites feeder, conveying operations
PITMAN, N.J. - K-Tron International Inc. has merged its pneumatic conveying and feeder operations into a single unit, called K-Tron Process Group, and will close a plant in Brantford, Ontario.
The new group is headed by Kevin Bowen. K-Tron will have three product lines: feeders, pneumatic conveying systems and Colormax. The company is phasing out its Hurricane and Soder brand names.
The Pitman-based manufacturer of resin feeders and blenders entered the pneumatic conveying business in 1997 when it bought Hurricane Pneumatic Conveying Inc. in Brantford. K-Tron will close that plant and move the operations to its Pitman headquarters.
K-Tron beefed up its pneumatic conveying by purchasing two companies in England - Colormax Ltd. of Telford in 2000 and Pneumatic Conveying Systems Ltd. of Stockport in 2001. The PCS and Colormax businesses have been run by a separate division, Pneumatic Conveying Group, and have focused mainly on sales to England.
K-Tron's three businesses in England will be combined into one unit called K-Tron PCS GB.
New Davis-Standard in contract dispute
PAWCATUCK, CONN. - Is Davis-Standard LLC a new company or not?
That's the core legal issue before the National Labor Relations Board's office in Hartford, Conn., in a dispute between the machinery manufacturer and unionized employees at Davis-Standard's headquarters plant in Pawcatuck. At stake: Whether the manufacturer of extrusion systems and equipment must honor the old contract or can create a new contract.
Crompton Corp., the longtime parent of Davis-Standard, formed the new Davis-Standard LLC in May as a joint venture with private equity firm Hamilton Robinson LLC. Hamilton, based in Stamford, Conn., owns Black Clawson Converting Machinery Co. Crompton is now called Chemtura Corp.
``Quite clearly, from a legal standpoint, it's a new company,'' said Joe Genovese, Davis-Standard's director of human resources. Management took the position that the company would not assume the existing contract, he said.
The company and International Association of Machinists Local 2705 tried to negotiate a new contract, but it was rejected by members at the Pawcatuck plant.
IAM officials did not return telephone calls for this story. But The Sun newspaper in Westerly, R.I., quoted union leaders saying that the company wants to cut costs by replacing the workers' pension plan with a 401(K) savings plan that includes a management contribution. Other parts of the new contract would freeze wages until December 2006, increase workers' health-insurance premiums and drop some double-time pay for overtime and holiday work, the newspaper said.
Genovese stressed the contract and NLRB debate only involves about 170 employees at the Pawactuck factory. The company has about 800 employees worldwide.
The union filed its charge against the company May 3, according to John Cotter, assistant director of NLRB's regional office in Hartford. Davis-Standard filed its own charge against the union Aug. 18, claiming the union was not bargaining.
If the labor board finds in favor of the firm, it will rule that the union's case has no merit. If the NLRB sides with the union that Davis-Standard LLC is not a new company, then the board will seek a settlement from the firm.
If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go before an NLRB judge, Cotter said.