Hilex shutting down N.C. bag facility
HARTSVILLE, S.C. Hilex Poly Co. LLC on Sept. 11 announced plans to close its Mt. Olive, N.C., plant, in part blaming consumers' growing preference for reusable grocery bags.
Hartsville-based Hilex is operating under Chapter 11 protection from creditors. It voluntarily filed a prepackaged bankruptcy plan on May 6, blaming rising resin costs, competition from Asia and soft demand.
The plant shutdown will affect 160 jobs, although the company said some workers may be transferred to other Hilex operations. In a news release, Ben Mascarello, vice president of operations, said the Mt. Olive plant closing is part of the company's plan to remain competitive.
``Our continued productivity improvements across our manufacturing network will allow for some of the capacity of our North Carolina facility to be absorbed elsewhere, but this is also a deliberate action to reduce market capacity for the production of plastic T-shirt bags,'' he said.
Hilex claims to be the world's largest plastic bag company.
Report: Wilbert closing Little Hocking site
LITTLE HOCKING, OHIO Wilbert Plastic Services Inc. is closing its factory in Little Hocking that thermoforms components for burial vaults, a newspaper reported.
The Marietta Times reported Sept. 4 that the plant closing was confirmed by two employees, who were not identified. Little Hocking is located near Marietta in southeastern Ohio.
The company would not comment in the wake of the published report. A woman at the factory referred questions to Kevin Brown, corporate director of human resources at parent company Wilbert Inc. in Broadview, Ill.
Brown directed questions to Greg Botner, Wilbert's managing director, but a secretary said the person to answer questions is Victor Rimkevicius, director of manufacturing-thermoforming.
Rimkevicius did not return telephone calls by deadline for this story.
IML to build own molding plant in Iowa
LE MARS, IOWA IML Containers Iowa will build its own container injection molding plant in Le Mars.
``Space is an issue,'' IML Plant Manager Steve Vallee said in a telephone interview. Compared with its existing, leased plant, a purpose-built facility will provide more flexibility and the capacity to grow, he added.
The company now operates out of a 20,000-square-foot building. The new facility will have 63,000 square feet of space and cost about $4.7 million. Construction has begun and should be complete in about six months, Vallee said.
IML set up operations in the leased building in Le Mars in 2006. It now runs three injection presses making custom-designed containers for local dairy markets. Vallee said his firm will add two or three more presses within the next year. IML specializes in in-mold labeling.
Vallee said the staff of 18 will grow by six to 10 people within a year.
A second expansion phase is being sketched out. That program would add another 90,000 square feet to the Le Mars layout.
Spartech closing Mich. compounding site
CLAYTON, MO. Spartech Corp is closing a compounding facility in St. Clair, Mich., for cost savings.
The Clayton company said the shutdown and transfer of production to other units will be completed in October. It will cost $600,000 to close the operation but it will result in annual savings of about $2 million, Spartech said in a financial report.
``It's concentrated in automotive, which shows continued weakness,'' said Randy Martin, Spartech executive vice president and chief financial officer, in a telephone interview.
Most production will be shifted to Spartech plants in Lenore, Pa., and Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Elsewhere, Spartech's Mandako, Minn., sheet plant should be closed by the end of September. That move, previously announced, will save the firm about $3 million per year.
Spartech expects to save $25 million per year from workforce reductions and other programs begun in 2008. The compounds and sheet producer recorded net earnings of $4.4 million for the quarter ended Aug. 2, down from $8.8 million a year earlier.