Bombardier ATVs to be made in Mexico
Valcourt, Quebec - Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. will shift its all-terrain-vehicle production from Valcourt to Mexico beginning in about two years.
Bombardier said pressures of a stronger Canadian dollar and Asian competition compel it to seek a low-cost country to boost profitability. Last year the Valcourt firm moved production of low-end ATVs to Taiwan. Spokesman Pierre Pichette said high-end ATVs, made in Valcourt, will go to Bombardier's plant in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
``We looked at various scenarios and transferring our operations to Mexico just made more sense,'' said Bombardier President and Chief Executive Officer Jose Boisjoli.
Bombardier is talking to existing suppliers to develop a supply infrastructure for the Ciudad Juarez plant, Pichette said in a telephone interview. ATVs use large fiberglass-reinforced-plastic components as well as molded thermoplastics.
Valcourt will lose 150 jobs by year's end 2007 and another 150 in 2008, as ATV production moves to Juarez. Valcourt will continue to produce snowmobiles and personal watercraft, also big users of FRP and molded plastics. Bombardier is investing C$10 million (US$8.5 million ) in Valcourt to make its assembly line more efficient and flexible in producing both snowmobiles and watercraft.
Pichette said Bombardier will invest C$30 million (US$25.5 million) in Mexico, to be split between its existing Juarez plant and another plant for manufacturing engines.
Confluence planning to add 300 workers
EASLEY, S.C. - Paddle-sport equipment firm Confluence Holdings Corp. of Easley will add as many as 300 permanent and seasonal workers during the next four months at its newly consolidated site and move to an around-the-clock manufacturing schedule to meet increased product demand.
The site employed 230 when Confluence acquired the Watermark paddle-sports division earlier this year.
``Of those being added, about half are temporary/seasonal,'' said spokesman Michael Collin in an Oct. 25 telephone interview.
Collin said the firm will not buy new equipment; instead, it will add eight rotomolding lines from its shuttered site in Trinity, N.C.
Confluence makes product for several lines, including Mad River Canoe, Wilderness Systems touring and recreational kayaks, Wave Sport white-water kayaks, WindRider sailing trimarans and Voyageur water-sports accessories brands.
Watermark includes Harmony paddle-sports accessories and AT Paddles and touring and white-water kayaks sold under several brands including Perception, Dagger and Mainstream.
PW Eagle sells stake in WL Plastics LLC
EUGENE, ORE. - Eugene-based PW Eagle Inc. sold its stake in WL Plastics LLC to an unidentified buyer.
PW, a manufacturer of PVC and high density polyethylene pipe, tubing and fittings, had been wanting to sell its 23 percent ownership stake since August. In September 2004, PW subsidiary USPoly Co. bought the business assets of Uponor Aldyl Co., making USPoly a competitor of Gillette, Wyo.-based WL. PW had been distancing itself from WL ever since.
PW had acquired the 23 percent ownership stake in WL, which manufactures HDPE pipe, from co-founders Mark Wason and Steve Burns in 2003.
PW Chief Financial Officer Scott Long declined to identify the buyer and said PW may never release it.
The sale is subject to closing conditions and financing contingencies, but is expected sometime in the fourth quarter. PW is anticipating an aftertax net gain on the sale of about $13 million. USPoly, an extruder of PE pipe and tubing products, will use those funds to pay down debt, company officials said.
In other PW news, the company announced Oct. 5 that JP Morgan Partners LP sold about 700,000 shares of PW stock - about 7.4 percent of PW's outstanding common stock.
Magna opens center for tooling training
BALTIMORE - Automotive supplier Magna International Inc. has opened a training center in Baltimore to help residents prepare for work in tool and die making.
The facility is the third training center globally for the Aurora, Ontario-based firm, and its first in the United States. The firm opened its first facility in 1998 in Brampton, Ontario, and followed that up in 2003 with one in Albersdorf, Austria.
More than 200 people have gone through the Ontario facility since it opened, receiving training as mold makers, industrial electricians, millwrights and tool and die manufacturers.
Magna is working with the Community College of Baltimore County for its newest facility. The company also renovated an adjacent recreation complex and community activity center.
Graduates do not have to commit to work with Magna. Instead, the company noted in an Oct. 24 news release that it is only looking to help develop a skilled workforce.
Peisach family takes ownership of Phoenix
BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - Latin American packaging and disposable products firm Phoenix Packaging Group now is 100 percent owned by the Peisach family, after its members bought the shares of Citibank Venture Corp. and minority shareholder Marco Barbier.
Citibank has been the company's main lender and banker for roughly 15 years, officials said, and has been instrumental in the firm growing beyond Colombia into Venezuela and Mexico.
``Having that Citibank seal of approval helped us get into other countries. It was time for them to move on because they were financial investors,'' Phoenix President Alberto Peisach said in a Nov. 1 telephone interview. ``We were lucky to be able to buy them out.''
Peisach said he had the option of selling or buying out those shareholders.
``Our decision was that this was not the time to sell,'' he wrote in a Nov. 1 e-mail. ``We are sure that having control, we can operate more efficiently and move faster.''
The recent changes also mean that Bogota-based Phoenix now wholly owns Estirenos del Zulia CA, a polystyrene resin operation based in Caracas, Venezuela; Phoenix bought out Dow Chemical Co.'s minority share. Peisach said Phoenix's operations consume about half of the resin production.
Phoenix's holdings include Multidimensionales SA and Plasdecol of Colombia; Inversiones Selva CA and Vasos Venezolanos in Venezuela; and Envases Cuautitl n of Mexico.
Peisach said Phoenix has sales of $200 million. The thermoformer and injection molder's products include containers and cutlery.