Newell Rubbermaid buys Japan's Aprica
SANDY SPRINGS, GA. - Newell Rubbermaid Inc. will boost its Asian presence by buying Aprica Childcare Institute Aprica Kassai Inc. of Osaka, Japan.
The deal is scheduled to close in the first half of the year. Terms were not disclosed. A Newell Rubbermaid official had no information on whether Aprica has plastics processing operations.
``With the addition of Aprica, our Baby & Parenting Essentials global business unit will have three of the world's strongest brands within children's products,'' said Jay Gould, Newell Rubbermaid group president, in a Feb. 25 news release.
Sandy Springs-based Newell Rubbermaid in 2007 bought stroller maker Teutonia Kinderwagenfabrik GmbH of Hiddenhausen, Germany, to complement its Graco Children's Products Inc. subsidiary.
For the fiscal year ended July 31, Aprica reported sales of $122 million. The company ships to customers in more than 40 countries.
``As part of Newell Rubbermaid, Aprica can now reach more consumers in more countries, while continuing our long history of innovation based on the latest child-development research,'' said Aprica President Yasuhito Kassai.
Newell Rubbermaid plans to work with Aprica's founders to establish a foundation for pediatric research.
In 2007, Newell Rubbermaid made a profit of about $467 million on sales of $6.4 billion.
Australia firm makes pipe from containers
LANCASTER, AUSTRALIA - An Australian family business is developing a niche market for agricultural pipes made from 100 percent recycled milk bottles and other high density polyethylene containers.
Recycled Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Pty. Ltd. has operated for a decade in Lancaster, a town in an irrigation farming region in Victoria called Goulburn Valley.
The company, trading as RPM Pipe, was established by irrigation engineer Chris Kay and his wife, Nancy.
Nancy Kay, company manager, said 7.5 million plastic containers a year are sourced from municipal curbside collections in the region.
They are trucked to Recycled Plastic Pipe's Lancaster plant and processed through grinding machines before being heat-formed into pipes, water and feed troughs, wells or irrigation channels.
``Most of our customers are farmers,'' Nancy Kay said. ``We make products for low-pressure, agricultural applications. Because we use recycled materials, the pipes can't be used for potable water.''
Kay said RPM Pipe products offer significant advantages over traditional concrete pipes and irrigation products.
``There is a cost saving, but the weight saving is even bigger, which means farmers don't need as many people to help install our products or take as much time, so that adds to the savings,'' she said.
Kay said pipes are supplied in standard 20-foot lengths and four sizes ranging in diameter from 12-24 inches. Feed and water troughs also are made to a standard 20-foot length, allowing as many as 25 cattle to drink or feed at once.
Kay said RPM Pipe products are about one-eighth the weight of a corresponding concrete product. ``Because of their lightweight nature, the pipes or troughs can be easily cut into two 10-foot ones,'' she said.
RPM Pipe's customer base is currently within Victoria's farming communities, but the company plans to expand to other Australian states.
Apollo acquires rival in court settlement
TUKWILA, WASH. - Apollo West LLC, doing business as Apollo Spas of Tukwila, has bought a spa producer to settle a lawsuit between the firms.
The company bought Apollo Plastics Inc., which makes fiberglass spas in Spokane Valley, Wash., and runs two stores in the Spokane area.
Apollo West won a breach-of-contract lawsuit that required Apollo Plastics to pay a $970,000 judgment. But Apollo Plastics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, according to Kevin O'Rourke, the company's bankruptcy lawyer.
Negotiations between the companies led to the acquisition as settlement. Both parties have filed to dismiss any further bankruptcy proceedings, O'Rourke said in a telephone interview from his office in Spokane.
A Spokane Journal of Business story said Apollo West will hire 10-15 more skilled workers for its newly acquired plant, which employs 60 now. Apollo West officials could not be reached to comment on their production plans.
Ontario government supports biofiber firm
TORONTO - The Ontario government is investing in a biofiber composite development company.
The government's BioAuto Council Commercialization Fund has committed C$755,000 (US$747,000) to GreenCore Composites Inc. The funding will be distributed over a two-year period, according to GreenCore process and applications specialist Vince Yan.
GreenCore is developing composites based on cellulosic fibers derived from forestry and agriculture, Yan said. The Toronto-based company is mixing the fibers with thermoplastics, mainly polyethylene and polypropylene. Target markets include automotive, furniture, construction, industrial and consumer.
``The investment from the BioAuto Council will go a long way to accelerating our product development and refining our production processes,'' GreenCore President and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Clarke said in a news release.
Yan said GreenCore has begun trials with firms in target markets, but the details at this stage are confidential. The firm has come up with proprietary technology to make products using injection molding and extrusion. Use of natural fibers can more than double properties such as stiffness, tensile strength and flexural modulus, according to the company.
Ontario's BioAuto Council is a nonprofit agency linking the automotive industry and the chemical and plastics industries with agriculture and forestry.
Rohm and Haas forms JV with Korean firm
PHILADELPHIA - Specialty chemicals firm Rohm and Haas Co. of Philadelphia and South Korean film manufacturer SKC Co. Ltd. have launched a joint venture to make optical and functional films for flat-panel displays.
The joint venture, called SKC Haas Display Films, will be based in Seoul and will produce films based on PET and other resins at plants in Cheonan, South Korea; and Suzhou, China. The venture will employ 600, Rohm and Haas spokesman Ken Gedaka said.
Products made by the venture will include specialty display films for liquid crystal and plasma displays. The venture also will make dispersions of pigments used in LCD color filter resists.
Gedaka said that sales in Rohm and Hass' flat-panel display technologies unit - including the venture - are expected to be $350 million in 2008, increasing to $500 million by 2010.
Earlier this year, Rohm and Haas acquired the light management films business of Eastman Kodak Co. Technology from that business, which makes specialty films at a pilot site in Rochester, N.Y., could be used to make films at the SKC Haas plants in Cheonan and Suzhou, Gedaka said.
SKC display division director Meoung-Han Kim will serve as president and chief executive officer of SKC Haas Display Films. Kim has more than 25 years of experience in the film and display industry.
Rohm and Haas, which owns 51 percent of the venture, is a major producer of plastics additives and other specialty chemical products. The firm posted sales of $8.2 billion in 2006.
Seoul-based SKC employs 1,700 and makes a variety of plastic films. The firm's locations include a plant in Covington, Ga. SKC is part of SK Group, a major South Korean conglomerate in the areas of information technology, energy and chemicals. SK Group had global sales of almost $76 billion in 2006.
Pam Trading acquires Niigata all-electric
KERNERSVILLE, N.C. - Pam Trading Corp. is boosting its tonnage capacity with the acquisition of a Niigata MD 950-ton all-electric injection molding press.
The new machine is the company's 12th press, according to Vice President Wayne Fisher. The company now has presses ranging from 44-950 tons in its 77,000- square-foot facility. The firm installed an all-electric 720-ton Niigata last year.
``When we went put in the 720 last year, we put in all the infrastructure we needed so that we would be prepared for this one,'' Fisher said. The new press is expected to be operational by early February.
He said that the Kernersville-based company has been experiencing double-digit growth in the past couple years and expects another good year in 2008. It currently employs 15, and Fisher said that he expects to hire two more people in the near future.
Pam Trading started in 1983 as an equipment supplier for the knitting industry. It diversified in 2004, opening its custom injection molding division.
``Even though we are new to the industry, our people are not. Our people have been in injection molding for 10-15 years,'' he said.
Pam has its own tool shop for mold-making and repairs. The company makes products for the automotive, appliance, consumer product, lawn and garden and furniture industries.