Engineering resins compounder Lati USA Inc. plans to cease manufacturing in the United States.
The firm said it will close its Summerville plant by the end of the year. Following the shutdown it will sell the 65,000-square-foot plant and office and continue as a sales organization in the area, importing injection molding compounds from its Italian parent, said Lati USA President Patrick Townes.
Townes said the operation established sales in automotive, electronic and consumer industries, but was operating at only about a fifth of its capacity. The board of directors at Lati Industria Termoplastici SpA of Milan, Italy, determined the sales level does not justify continued production at Summerville.
Lati USA began distributing in 1996 and by 2002 set up the manufacturing plant in Summerville. It mainly makes flame-retardant resins and glass-filled nylons, rounding off its diverse product slate with imports from Italy, Townes said in a telephone interview. Although he declined to provide a precise sales figure, he said a published estimate of $15 million for 2004 was ``in the ballpark.''
Summerville's key production assets are a twin-screw extruder and associated equipment. Townes said his firm has not decided the fate of the equipment.
Lati USA will continue production at current rates until the end of November and then at a reduced level in December. Its current staff of 21 will shrink to six when it becomes strictly a sales organization.