Milacron Inc. has a new top executive David E. Lawrence, current president of the company's global mold technologies business.
Lawrence will become president and chief executive officer of the Cincinnati-based machinery company Dec. 1. He replaces Ronald Brown, who is retiring.
Lawrence is a 35-year veteran of the plastics industry. He joined D-M-E Co., a supplier of mold bases, hot-runner systems and related components for plastics injection molding, in 1988 as a plant manager. Milacron acquired D-M-E in 1996.
Lawrence has a bachelor's in business administration from Northwood University in Midland, Mich. He is a member of the Society of Plastics Engineers and serves the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. as the chairman of its global business committee and member of the Midwest board of directors.
``The [Milacron] board and I have great confidence in Dave Lawrence,'' said Larry Yost, longtime Milacron director and newly appointed chairman. ``Dave has an extensive background and expertise in the plastics industry and he has consistently demonstrated strong leadership over the past several years.''
In a recent conference call with financial analysts, Brown talked about the upcoming change in leadership.
``I can also tell you that the next CEO will be blessed with a group of incredibly dedicated people who have shown their resolve to face challenges head-on and do whatever it takes to survive in some very difficult markets,'' Brown said.
Milacron has not turned a profit since 2000. The company lost $87.1 million in 2007. Through the first three quarters of 2008, Milacron has lost $12.6 million.
Despite the financial pain, Brown said Milacron has posted year-over-year improvements in operating earnings each quarter this year. Given the current backlog of orders, he expects fourth-quarter sales and operating earnings to be about the same as the third-quarter numbers.
Milacron will continue to focus on conserving cash and cost reductions, he said.
Third-quarter sales were $195 million, a 4 percent decline from $204 million in the third quarter of 2007.
New orders were $191 million, down 6 percent from $203 million in the year-ago third quarter.
Brown told analysts that plastics machinery business remains soft in the United States, Canada and Western Europe. But he said orders grew by 8 percent to emerging markets India, China, Eastern Europe, Mexico and South America. Emerging markets accounted for 25 percent of new orders in the third quarter.
He said machinery demand remains strong in health care and packaging. Automotive and construction dampened sales of injection presses and extruders.
Milacron makes injection presses, blow molding machines, extruders, structural foam machines, mold components and industrial fluids.