Pliant Corp. is continuing to reorganize its film manufacturing operations, with plans to close four more plants while it upgrades 100 million pounds of capacity at other locations.
Plants being closed are in Deerfield, Mass.; Dalton, Ga.; Harrington, Del.; and Newport News, Va., according to an April 29 news release. Last year, Pliant closed plants in Langley, British Columbia, and Barrie, Ontario.
The combination of plant closings and upgrades means that every remaining operation within Pliant will have been modernized within the past five years, according to the Schaumburg, Ill.-based firm.
In a recent conference call with securities analysts, Pliant President Harold Bevis said the company's goal is to have ``large, contemporary plants with low overhead.''
Some 20-plus production lines will be upgraded and relocated from facilities that will close. The plants being shut down were picked because they have above-average costs and are disadvantaged due to capabilities, geography or growth potential.
The closings, according to the filing, will be paced over six quarters to avoid business disruptions.
The firm declined to provide details on the closing schedule. An April 25 report in the Daily Hampshire Gazette of Northampton, Mass., said Pliant will discontinue manufacturing in Deerfield by Dec. 31. The plant employs 106.
The Dalton and Deerfield plants do film converting. Dalton makes barrier and medical films, while Deerfield makes industrial films. Harrington makes personal-care, medical and custom films, while Newport News is a research facility and pilot plant.
Pliant said it made about 1 billion pounds of film last year at 21 plants.
In its news release, Pliant said it has modernized more than 700 million pounds of film capacity in the past four years and has cut seven of its highest-cost locations in the past five years.
The company also said it is working with real estate adviser Staubach Co. of Dallas on sales and lease-back agreements that will reduce its debt by $80 million in the next 14 months.
As a recent example of its consolidation, it cited its Macedon, N.Y., plant, where it has invested $28 million since 2005. It doubled the size of the plant to 330,000 square feet in 2005. In the first quarter of 2008, it installed a 10-color press and a conveyer system in its bag department. Pliant plans to add two bag lines in the second quarter and four film extrusion lines in the third and fourth quarters.
Pliant added that it is in discussions to add locations in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.