Modern Plastics Corp. and Plastic Masters Inc., two Michigan injection molders with a common owner, are planning a merger that will create one company in Benton Harbor.
Under the plan, Modern Plastics' 200,000-square-foot Benton Harbor plant is being readied to handle the shifting of personnel and machinery from Plastic Masters, located in New Buffalo, about 30 miles away.
``The plastic industry is very competitive. We see this as helping us control our costs and be more competitive. Many customers look annually for price reductions,'' said Steve Silcox, Modern's director of administrative services.
The companies have similar businesses, but Silcox said the merged firm will operate under the Modern Plastics name and will focus on the automotive, medical, appliance, food-service, lighting and electrical industries.
Both companies were founded by Walter Miller and are owned by the Miller family. Modern, which began in 1937, has been considering options that included moving out of state. But favorable legislation signed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm on April 11 persuaded Modern to work with city officials and consolidate in Benton Harbor, Silcox said. Keeping the company in state was a stated purpose of the legislation, he said.
``We can't allow companies like Modern Plastics, that employ between 35 and 40 percent of Benton Harbor residents, to close its doors and move to a competing state because Michigan was unable to provide them with incentives to help them expand their business,'' Michigan state representative John Proos said in a news release.
Proos sponsored the bill, passed March 29, that expanded an existing renaissance zone in Benton Harbor, allowing Modern to gain tax credits. Modern must add about 100 jobs to qualify for the credits.
In Plastics News' recent injection molders ranking, Modern listed one plant, 27 presses and $6.2 million in sales for the fiscal year ended June 30.
The ranking listed Plastic Masters with one plant, 29 injection molding presses and $9.8 million in sales for the same fiscal year.
Plastic Masters already is relocating its machinery and should be finished May 1, according to Silcox. About 60 workers will transfer to Modern Plastics' Benton Harbor plant.
Silcox said the setup will be more efficient and operate a number of work cells.
With 10 acres of property, the consolidated company has room to expand, he noted.
Modern Plastics also runs a blow molding operation in Coloma, Mich., that employs 80. Silcox said that outfit will not be affected by the move.