A. Schulman Inc. will end production of Invision-brand plastic sheet later this year.
Ending production of the material at a Schulman plant in Sharon Center, Ohio, will eliminate four jobs and save the firm $2 million to $3 million per year, officials with Fairlawn, Ohio-based Schulman said in a June 29 news release.
Schulman will continue to make Invision-brand resin for sheet and thermoforming markets, but Chairman, President and CEO Joseph Gingo said in the release that much of Invision's potential falls outside of A. Schulman's manufacturing expertise in custom compounding.
As a result, he added, Schulman has been seeking a partner with sheet manufacturing assets to grow the business. Without such a partner, we cannot justify continuing sheet production, which has been a drain on our profitability, Gingo said.
In Schulman's 2008 fiscal year, the Invision business posted an operating loss of almost $6.4 million on sales of only $416,000. The unit has not fared much better in the first half of Schulman's fiscal 2009, with an operating loss of about $2 million on sales of $129,000.
Invision was launched in 2005 and at one point was considered an important growth market for Schulman, which ranks as one of North America's 30 largest compounders. Schulman went so far as to build a plant for the business in Findlay, Ohio. But production never got beyond a smaller operation in Sharon Center.
Demand from automakers is there, former Schulman CEO Terry Haines said of Invision in a 2005 interview with Plastics News. They want to do it and they want to do it tomorrow. This is the future of our company.
In the same interview, Schulman officials said that U.S. sales of Invision sheet could reach $120 million by 2010.