ACH invests $80M in plant, seeks buyers
SALINE, MICH. The 1,600 employees at Automotive Components Holdings LLC's Saline plant should have a longer future ahead of them, with the company investing more than $80 million in new equipment and technology at the facility.
In August, Dearborn, Mich.-based ACH only would commit to keeping the 1.6 million-square-foot plant open ``beyond 2008,'' and while the firm is not setting any specific time line now, the investments will help the site continue molding parts for the foreseeable future, and make it more attractive to potential buyers.
ACH consists of former Visteon Corp. auto parts plants now owned by Dearborn-based Ford Motor Co. In 2005, Ford set a target date to sell or shut down ACH by year-end 2008. But in August it said it would keep some sites open, including Saline.
The plant turns out instrument and door panels and other interior parts for Ford. A proposed deal to sell it to Johnson Controls Inc. fell apart in August. Ford still needs the parts made at Saline, prompting continued investments.
The investments include moving production lines from a shuttered ACH plant in Utica, Mich., and buying equipment to make spray urethane instrument panel skins.
ACH still wants to sell Saline, said spokesman Eric Mitchell, Investments should make it more attractive to potential buyers.
JSW buying stake in press maker Meiki
NAGOYA, JAPAN In a linkup of two Japanese injection molding machinery manufacturers, Japan Steel Works Ltd. plans to invest 122 million yen ($1.25 million) in Meiki Co. Ltd., the companies announced Oct. 21.
The acquisition is set for Nov. 5. JSW said it will buy 2 million shares of newly issued stock. According to a report in Japan's Jiji Press news service, JSW then will own 14.8 percent of Meiki.
Both companies will cooperate on new technology, JSW financial documents said. JSW officials cited a harsh, price-competitive market for injection molding machines, the economic slowdown and higher raw material costs as prompting the machinery makers to work together. The firm also said the partnership will improve its level of factory utilization and cut costs by doing joint procurement.
Meiki is based Nagoya. Tokyo-based JSW builds its injection presses in Hiroshima, Japan.
Spokesmen for both companies' U.S. operations JSW Plastics Machinery Inc. and Meiki America Corp., both in Elk Grove Village, Ill. confirmed the share purchase, but disclosed no further details.
Mich. consolidation gets JCIM tax break
Dearborn, Mich. JCIM LLC, the former Plastech Engineered Products Inc. interior auto parts plants, is consolidating its Michigan operations at four plants, adding 325 jobs and investing $4 million at those sites. JCIM also will shut down manufacturing at another five sites, cutting 757 jobs.
Glendale, Wis.-based auto supplier Johnson Controls Inc. is majority owner of the company.
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. has approved a $3.37 million tax credit to help finance the expansions in Romulus, Lansing, Port Huron and Monroe. JCIM is closing plants in Romulus, Clarkston, Grandville, Caro and Walker. Some of those closures were announced previously by JCIM or Plastech.
Dearborn-based Plastech filed for bankruptcy in February and sold the bulk of its holdings. JCI, with automotive operations based in Plymouth, Mich., took over Plastech's extensive injection molding interiors facilities in July.
The consolidation cut JCIM's workforce in Michigan, but favored other sites in the state over competing sites in Kentucky and Alabama, state officials said Oct. 14 in announcing the credit.
Berry to make 11-layer film in Oklahoma
EVANSVILLE, IND. Berry Plastics Corp. has invested in equipment for its Pryor, Okla., polyethylene-based stretch film plant.
Evansville-based Berry recently purchased machinery from Gloucester Engineering Co. to produce a new, 11-layer stretch film that will be used to wrap products for shipment from warehouses to points of use, the firm said in an Oct. 9 news release.
In the release, Berry Flexible Films President John Matuscak said the machinery will aid in producing films for use in harsh shipping environments. Berry executives would not comment further on the new film, which is being launched in the second quarter of 2009.