Officials with River Bend Industries LLC expect their $17.4 million purchase of injection molder Victor Plastics Inc. to be approved by a bankruptcy judge by April 21.
Fort Smith, Ark.-based River Bend is likely to be chosen over a half-dozen other bidders, River Bend Chief Executive Officer Ron Embree said in a March 18 phone interview. Victor, based in North Liberty, Iowa, had filed for bankruptcy in mid-January.
``A lot of people are thinking River Bend is here to save the day,'' Embree said. ``But really it's the employees and customers who stuck it out [with Victor] who saved the day.''
Combining Victor with River Bend will create an injection molder with annual sales of about $70 million. Victor's sales had fallen from $100 million in 2006 to $70 million in 2007. The firm lost another $30 million in business as a result of the bankruptcy.
Victor has closed its smallest site - a 30-employee plant operating 26 injection presses in Flora, Miss. - and Embree said that plant will not reopen. Equipment from Flora will be transferred to Victor's plants in North Liberty and Victor, Iowa.
The Flora plant had generated most of its business from appliance maker Whirlpool Corp., which ended a contract with Victor in July. That expiration also led to the shutdown of a 200-employee plant in Kalona, Iowa.
Bill Collins will join River Bend as general manager of the two remaining Victor sites. He has more than 25 years of injection molding experience and was a colleague of Embree's at Moll Industries Inc. Collins most recently worked at the Bellevue, Ohio, plant of Wilbert Plastic Services Inc.
Victor had been owned by Spell Capital LLC, a Minneapolis investment firm that bought the firm in 2004 from the family of founder James Kubu, who died in 2002.
Victor now employs about 380. The 180,000-square-foot plant in Victor operates 27 presses, and the 135,000-square-foot North Liberty plant runs 41 presses. Both plants generate more than half of their sales from the appliance market, according to industry estimates.
River Bend employs 130 at a plant in Forth Smith, making parts for refrigerators, trash compactors, ice makers and other products.