Sources say Libralter has closed doors
WALLED LAKE, MICH. - Auto supplier Libralter Plastics Inc. has closed its doors, according to a former employee and supplier of the company.
Executives with the Walled Lake-based injection molder referred questions to President Alan Barr, who did not return calls. The firm has not filed paperwork with the state of Michigan about the closing, but a former employee said the firm closed Jan. 13.
Libralter, founded in 1977, had struggled through the late 1990s but was on the comeback trail by 2003, even talking about plans to expand. It had nearly 250 employees turning out interior parts at that point and $30 million in annual sales.
Michigan toolmaker Victory shuts down
MARYSVILLE, MICH. - Injection mold toolmaker Victory Mold & Engineering has closed, but one of the partners in that business and some key employees have moved over to another tooling business.
John Van Tiem, a co-owner of Marysville-based Victory, bought into Boltzo Manufacturing Corp. of Romeo, Mich., in October. When co-owner William Cooper opted to close Victory, Van Tiem purchased equipment and hired three of the company's employees. Victory had nine employees prior to closing.
The Victory partners had differing outlooks on how much more to invest in the company to retain future business, Van Tiem said, noting they had an amicable split.
Boltzo had a strong customer base, with production already established in injection mold tooling and die-stamp tools, he said.
Hong Kong firm buys toy maker Wham-O
EMERYVILLE, CALIF. - Toy manufacturer Wham-O Inc. should be able to cut costs and expand marketing under new ownership, according to an investment banker who helped broker the deal.
Cornerstone Overseas Investment Ltd. of Hong Kong bought Wham-O for undisclosed terms from Charterhouse Group of New York. Wham-O of Emeryville makes such famous toys as Frisbee, Hula Hoop, Slip'N Slide, Superball and Hacky Sack.
Cornerstone owns an injection molding plant near Guandong, China, and controls four other manufacturing plants in China with more than 20,000 workers, said James Rybakoff, president, chief executive officer and founder of Akin Bay Co. LLC, the New York investment bank that helped put the deal together.
Wham-O has been using a number of third-party molders to make its parts in China, a more expensive strategy than using Cornerstone's own facilities, Rybakoff said in a telephone interview.
Wham-O employs about 300. It was founded in 1948.
Kentucky project will produce bottles
LOUISVILLE, KY. - A new company is gearing up to make blow molded bottles in Louisville.
MAB Group LLC plans to invest $6.3 million this year in the venture, according to a recent report in Louisville's Business First newspaper. MAB, formed in July, will aim to sell bottles for milk, water and juice.
MAB part-owner Michael Banks declined to comment on the project until it is close to production, expected in late January or early February.
MAB has signed a five-year lease on 43,500 square feet of space and initially expects to employ about 45, Business First reported. The project is aided by a $1.1 million loan from the Small Business Administration, according to the report.
Bomatic selling equipment from Utah site
ONTARIO, CALIF. - Bomatic Inc. is selling equipment at its newest plant in Utah, but the company president said he does not know if the plant will shut down.
The Ontario company hopes to sell 17 blow molding machines, an injection press and a variety of grinders in a Feb. 7 auction at Bomatic's St. George, Utah, plant.
Bomatic established the St. George operation in September 2004 after buying a building and moving equipment from a second Ontario plant, which the company closed.
The firm intends to continue manufacturing operations in Ontario and probably St. George, using other equipment, said Kjeld Hestehave, president of the family-owned firm.