Spartech Corp. is adding to its list of closings by shuttering a compounding plant in Arlington, Texas.
Clayton, Mo.-based Spartech - which ranks as North America's largest extruder of custom rigid sheet and roll stock - will move work done in Arlington to Donora, Pa., where the firm earlier had announced it would combine two plants into one. Spartech will continue to operate a second plant in Arlington. The consolidation is expected to save Spartech $3 million annually and eliminate 50 jobs.
The Donora plant now will make a combination of polyolefin compounds, engineering materials and white concentrates. The remaining Arlington plant will produce flame-retardant grades of thermoplastic olefins.
Operating profit for Spartech's color and specialty compounds segment dropped 46 percent, to about $15 million in its 2005 fiscal year, which ended Oct. 29. The segment's 2005 sales grew 33 percent to $431 million.
Earlier in 2005, Spartech closed sheet extrusion plants in Taylorville, Ill.; Redlands, Calif.; and Cornwall, Ontario. Its corrugated sheet business and equipment from the Cornwall plant were sold to Coroplast Inc. of Dallas for $6 million. A compounding plant in Conneaut, Ohio, also closed during 2005.
In spite of the closings, Spartech grew in other areas in 2005. The firm added sheet extrusion lines in Cape Girardieu, Mo.; Muncie, Ind.; Evanston, Ill.; and Donchery, France, as well as a compounding line in Cape Girardieu. Spartech also plans to add compounding and sheet capacity at its plant near Monterrey, Mexico, in 2006.
In a Dec. 15 telephone interview, Spartech President and Chief Executive Officer George Abd said that he was confident the firm was heading in the right direction.
``Changes are a continuing process,'' he said. ``We've made some necessary changes to our sheet business and moving ahead we'll have a development focus on our new products.''
Those changes will include 26 billion pounds of 2006 business generated from what Abd called Spartech's ``green'' efforts. These include low-emission sheet for the automotive market, sheet for fiberglass replacement and biodegradable sheet made from polylactide bioresin supplied by Nature Works LLC.
For the full 2005 fiscal year, Spartech's profit plunged 70 percent to $13.1 million, even as sales grew almost 25 percent to $1.4 billion. According to a Dec. 15 news release, Spartech officials said the firm was affected in 2005 by a number of factors. including higher converting costs, higher resin costs and the hurricane-related temporary shutdown of its compounding plant in Lake Charles, La.