The MHT vs. Husky PET preform battle has taken a new twist, as Hochheim, Germany-based Mold & Hotrunner Technology AG has opened a U.S. branch company near Atlanta. Separately, Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. announced that a German court has slapped MHT with damages of 8.4 million euros ($11.1 million) for theft of Husky's mold designs.
MHT was founded in 1996 by former employees of Husky's preform mold plant in Wiesbaden, Germany. Husky had closed the plant earlier that year. Husky, based in Bolton, Ontario, charged that MHT officials took secret Husky computer-aided-design files when MHT created its own molds.
Husky has been waiting more than a year to learn the monetary amount of the damages, after the German Federal Supreme Court ruled in November 2005 that it would not hear MHT's appeal.
MHT's new U.S. operation, called MHT USA LLC, opened in October in Peachtree City, Ga.
MHT said Dec. 8 that the judgment was ``not yet legally binding,'' and that MHT has yet to decide whether to lodge an appeal.
``This judgment certainly isn't good news, and the amount of damages came as a surprise,'' said Christoph Kuckels, MHT financial director, in a news release. But the release added that the damages, which already have been paid to Husky, ``neither affect MHT's solvency nor consume the company's equity capital, for MHT is just about to complete the most successful operating business year in its history, and judging by current orders, 2007 promises to be just as good.''
Husky said the courts have denied MHT's right to appeal the decision, but added that MHT may challenge that denial.
Manfred Lausenhammer, who is running the Atlanta company as chief executive officer of MHT USA, was traveling and could not be reached for comment. MHT said the new, independent company will provide better service to the North American market. MHT USA will begin assembling PET preform molds in the first quarter of 2007.
Lausenhammer, 44, has more than 17 years of experience with PET preform molds. He was MHT sales director, and was general manager of MHT Luxemburg SA.
In other personnel news, the German company said Gerhard Weinandy will succeed Lausenhammer as general manager of MHT Luxemburg. Rolf Steinmetz will become sales manager of PET molds. Steinmetz also will retain his duties as head of project planning.