Press-Seal merging ventures into 1 site
FORT WAYNE, IND. - Press-Seal Gasket Corp. is consolidating its injection molding capabilities at its main facility in Fort Wayne as it prepares to turn out proprietary products for the rail and tunnel industries.
``We have a lot of space, so we are consolidating operations into this space,'' said President Jim Skinner. ``It is for efficiency and the fact is we have a tool and die shop here in Fort Wayne. Having both plastics and rubber [in one place] is much more efficient.''
The company is closing its Nashua, N.H., operation, cutting three jobs. Skinner said the consolidation will add five jobs at the 131,000-square-foot Fort Wayne factory.
The firm designs and makes sealing products for underground collections systems. Skinner said he is not ready to reveal too much about the patent-pending products the company is developing.
He did say the slowdown in the housing market has the company looking at other plans.
``As it has slowed, we've turned our engineering and development over on to rail and tunnel. They've come up with some ideas that will create a labor savings,'' he said.
Skinner said his firm is moving some equipment from Nashua and will add new equipment to the mix. The company has seven employees in its plastics division and 97 employees overall.
The Fort Wayne-Allen County Economic Development Alliance is working to help with the expansion. The Allen County Council is considering a tax abatement on $480,000 worth of manufacturing and information technology equipment.
Press-Seal has been making rubber pipe gaskets since 1954. It has numerous patents for products for sanitary sewers, storm water systems and on-site waste water systems.
Australia continues Brickwood deal probe
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - Australia's corporate watchdog is giving further scrutiny to VIP Plastic Packaging Pty. Ltd.'s proposed buyout of one of its rivals. Officials again have bumped the deadline for approving the deal, now to Oct. 26.
After VIP announced in July its desire to buy another Melbourne-based firm, Brickwood Holdings Pty. Ltd., the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission called for submissions on the deal's likely market impact. The ACCC said it would announce its approval or rejection Sept. 19, then moved that conclusion to Oct. 19.
In its latest statement on the proposed acquisition, the ACCC said it had not formed a ``concluded view'' on the relationship between Pact and Visy, and has delayed its decision to Oct. 26.
An ACCC spokeswoman said market feedback, which began Aug. 2, suggested the current ``operational dependence, information flows, financial relationships and incentives flowing from personal and family relationships between Pact Group and Visy'' meant it was unlikely the merged entity and Visy could compete effectively against each another.
The inquiries included a range of interested parties, including suppliers of packaging products, PET preforms and PET and high density polyethylene resin, and customers for PET bottles, high density polyethylene bottles, plastic closures, PET preforms and PET and HDPE resin.
The spokeswoman said the commission's inquiries also have examined the relationship between VIP and Australia's largest paper, plastic and cardboard packaging and recycling company, Visy Group.
VIP is part of Pact Group, acquired in 2003 from Visy Industries Pty. Ltd. by the Geminder family, headed by Raphael Geminder.
Visy, also based in Melbourne, is a private company owned by the Pratt family and chaired by Richard Pratt, who is Geminder's father-in-law.
Brickwood makes blow molded products, such as milk and juice bottles, plastic pallets and mobile garbage bins, and operates similar businesses through Full View Plastics Pty. Ltd. in Sydney, and Logan Molders Pty. Ltd. in Brisbane. The two associated companies also are subject to the VIP buyout bid.
Solvay Solexis adding fluoropolymer plant
BOLLATE, ITALY - Solvay Solexis SpA is building a fluoropolymer powder plant in Changshu, China, and might build a specialty resin plant there as well.
In an Oct. 8 news release, officials with Solvay Solexis of Bollate - a unit of Brussels, Belgium-based Solvay SA - said the firm's polytetrafluoroethylene micronized powder plant is set to open in the first quarter of 2008. The powders are used in the aerospace and automotive markets, and can be used as polymer additives.
Also being considered for Changshu is a plant making Hylar-brand polyvinylidene fluoride resin. Hylar PVDF is a base material for long-life architectural coatings for metal, glass and other exterior surfaces, officials said.
``Our geographic expansion into high-growth markets such as China and India is an essential part of our strategy to grow our specialty polymers business,'' specialty polymers General Manager Vincenzo Morici said.
Solvay SA is an international plastics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals firm that posted sales of 9.4 billion euros ($13.3 billion) in 2006.
Universal Plastics expanding in Mass.
HOLYOKE, MASS. - Thermoformer Universal Plastics Corp. broke ground on a $2.5 million, 30,000-square-foot addition to its Holyoke headquarters in September.
``This will allow us to put everything under one roof,'' President Joe Peters said in an Oct. 1 telephone interview.
He said the addition is expected to be completed by June 1, and will boost its current facility to about 100,000 square feet.
``It will be warehouse space and additional manufacturing,'' he said. ``This will give us more flexibility with our operations.''
Peters said the company is considering adding equipment, but that will be determined later. The expansion also will allow the firm to create a low-humidity room to store plastic sheet.
The company - known for making bus stop signs for New York City - also makes such varied products as aircraft parts, outdoor recreational stuff, materials-handling containers, medical housings, packaging and trays, and point-of-purchase displays. It does both thin- and heavy-gauge thermoforming.
Universal Plastics recently was named a business of the year by the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce. It was cited for sales growth of 15 percent over the past two years.
Founded in 1965, the firm moved four years ago from a four-story mill building in Chicopee, Mass., to its present location. It employs 74. Peters said business has been growing steadily since that move.
Solo saving money on new leasing deal
NEW YORK - Disposable food-service product maker Solo Cup Co. has another landlord for six of its plants.
Highland Park, Ill.-based Solo sold a portfolio of plants in a $130 million lease-back arrangement with a subsidiary of iStar Financial Inc. of New York in June. Now, iStar has sold a 50 percent stake in that lease-back deal to Angelo Gordon & Co.'s Net Lease Group for $65 million, New York-based Angelo Gordon announced in late September.
The portfolio includes plants in Chicago and Urbana, Ill.; August and Conyers, Ga.; Federalsburg, Md.; and Dallas. A Solo spokeswoman said all the operations are engaged in plastics processing.
Solo on June 28 said it had entered into a 20-year lease with four five-year extension options for each plant. At the time it also said there would be no changes in day-to-day operations at those, or other, Solo Cup facilities.
Solo said proceeds from the transaction were used to pay off a $130 million second-lien term loan. Chief Executive Officer Robert Korzenski said in the June release that a key goal was to reduce Solo's overall leverage and invest in its business.
``We expect to be a part of the business community in these locations for many years to come,'' he said.
AG Net Lease provides sale/ lease-back financing and is in the process of investing its first dedicated net lease fund, which closed earlier in the year. It is seeking to buy as much as $500 million of net leased corporate real estate worldwide.
Teddy Kaplan, managing director and co-manager of AG Net Lease, added that the purchase was made after iStar made the original deal. But, he said, ``it is exactly the type of company we want to do business with.''