PE makers push for January price hike
AKRON, OHIO- North American polyethylene suppliers are attempting to reverse major slides in pricing with increase announcements set for Jan. 1.
PE makers Dow Chemical Co., ExxonMobil Chemical Co., Nova Chemicals Corp. and Formosa Plastics Corp. USA are seeking increases of 7 cents per pound on that date, according to industry sources. Plunging oil prices and rapidly dissipating demand have sent North American PE prices down an average of 33 cents per pound since Sept. 1.
Plastics News also is correcting prices on several resins on this week's pricing chart to reflect substantial drops in pricing.
Average North American selling prices for amorphous and crystalline PET each are down an average of 20 cents per pound or 22 percent since Sept. 1, sources said. Expanded polystyrene prices have tumbled an average of 31 cents per pound (23 percent) in that span as well.
On dispersion PVC, prices have dropped an average of 7 cents per pound, or 10 percent, since Sept. 1, according to several buyers. New prices for APET, CPET, EPS and dispersion PVC are shown on this week's PN resin pricing chart.
Fire destroys Benchmark Foam facility
WATERTOWN, S.D. An early morning fire Dec. 6 destroyed the Watertown building that housed Benchmark Foam Inc., but the company is making arrangements for uninterrupted production, according to a statement on its Web site.
Benchmark makes expanded polystyrene products for industries including packaging, construction and signage.
``Our first trucks saw flames eight blocks away,'' said Watertown Fire Department Chief Mike Jungemann.
Two-thirds of the building was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived on the scene and the entire structure was burning within 15 minutes, he said. The first call came in at 2:20 a.m. About 65 firefighters battled the blaze, which lasted about seven hours. The main concern was to protect a surgical center located 20 yards behind the building, Jungemann said.
Benchmark employs about 50, according to Jungemann. The last employee had left building about 12:30 that night. The state Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the fire's cause.
Benchmark was located at the site for about 25 years. The firm did not return telephone calls for comment. Its Web site said that by Dec. 8, a team had set up a new office and made arrangements for production and on-time delivery.
Automotive mold maker BTM shuts doors
MAIDSTONE, ONTARIO Automotive mold shop BTM Tooling Inc. has shut down in Maidstone.
The firm closed its doors Nov. 26, putting 50 people out of work, according to a report in the Windsor Star. The company is bankrupt and its receiver is KPMG International. Royal Bank of Canada is its major creditor and has instructed KPMG to liquidate the assets.
``Due to the uncertainty in the economic climate, payment conditions in the auto sector and program delays, BTM Tooling has been prompted to cease operations,'' BTM Chief Executive Officer Greg Balint said in a statement. ``The lack of available financing for long-term contracts has also been a major factor in the company's ability to continue its operations.''
BTM and KPMG officials could not be reached for comment. The company was founded in 1992.
AERT plans to settle class-action suit
SPRINGDALE, ARK. Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies Inc. has agreed to settle the class-action suit filed in February against the wood composite deck maker regarding mold and mildew surface stains on AERT decks.
The settlement has preliminary approval from U.S. District Court in Seattle. A hearing for final approval is slated for Jan. 8.
AERT officials said the affected decks were made prior to October 2006, when the company introduced mold inhibitor zinc borate to its formulation.
The settlement, according to Springdale-based AERT, offers a formal claim-resolution process. It allows eligible customers ``to have their decks inspected, cleaned and treated with a mold inhibitor.'' It also provides, in certain circumstances, for additional cleanings, refunds, replacement material, cleaning discounts, and/or credit vouchers, an AERT news release said.