Officials of Milacron Inc., a machinery and mold-components maker that last turned a profit in 2000, announced Sept. 28 that they plan ``significant measures'' to reduce costs by consolidating plants in Europe and North America.
Spokesman Al Beaupre said the firm is not disclosing which manufacturing sites will be closed.
Milacron's top executive, Ronald Brown, said customers are holding off buying equipment as resin prices ratchet up higher.
``The plastics machinery and processing industries, as well as most industrial manufacturers, are feeling the negative impact of higher energy and material prices,'' said Brown, chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a news release. ``While our North American machinery businesses continue to show solid year-over-year growth, further increases in oil and related resin prices have caused many plastics processors to defer anticipated machinery purchases.''
Brown also said Milacron is getting hurt by ``ongoing softness'' in Europe. ``In light of these conditions, we are taking significant measures to cut costs and return Milacron to sustained profitability,'' he said.
Beaupre said details about specific plant closings will come later. More information also will come when Milacron releases its third-quarter results Nov. 4.
Profitability has been an elusive goal for the Cincinnati-based maker of injection molding presses, extruders, blow molding machines and D-M-E mold components. Milacron lost more than $500 million from 2001 through 2004 after a big downturn in the U.S. market in late 2000.
Milacron has managed to narrow its red-ink numbers - down to a $51 million loss for 2004, on sales of $774 million. Through the first half of 2005, the firm lost $12.8 million on sales of $401 million.
When the firm announced the first-half results Aug. 1, Brown said its key North American market was bouncing back, and growth remained strong in China, India and Eastern Europe. But demand remains soft in Western Europe, said Brown, who cited ``incredible pricing pressure'' there.
He told analysts in the Aug. 1 conference call that stable oil and resin prices are important for machinery demand to pick up.