Mahendra Patel, who partnered with Milacron Inc. in 1995 to create a plastics machinery joint venture in India, wants to buy the operation.
Patel said he met June 30 with officials from Avenue Capital Group, one of the investment firms that is buying Batavia, Ohio-based Milacron out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
On June 26, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge J. Vincent Aug Jr. approved the sale of Milacron to investors headed by Avenue Capital and DDJ Capital Management LLC. That sale could close this month.
The bankruptcy covers only Milacron's U.S. and Canadian operations, not Ferromatik Milacron India Ltd. Patel said he has the right of first refusal to any sale of shares of Ferromatik Milacron India that Milacron holds a position backed up by an Indian court.
In an e-mail, Patel said his meeting with New York-based Avenue Capital was inconclusive. He said he expects a follow-up soon, after the sale of Milacron is final.
Ferromatik Milacron India makes more than 500 machines a year mainly injection molding equipment at its factory in Ahmedabad, India. Patel said Milacron is the majority owner of the joint venture, which he directs.
Patel said FMI is well capitalized in India, with low debt levels. He said the Patel family has a strong track record and respected name in the Indian plastics industry. Once [the Milacron] ownership change happens, FMI will become a stronger company and will independently grow rapidly, Patel said in the e-mail. It is my every intention to buy [Ferromatik Milacron India].
This is not Patel's first effort to buy Milacron's share of the joint venture. In May, Patel filed an objection to the bankruptcy court's bid procedures. He said the sales process was unfair to parties seeking to buy parts of Milacron. He also wanted the bid procedure modified to recognize his family's right of first refusal to any sale of the Indian operation.
At the time, Aug allowed the sale of Milacron to Avenue Capital and DDJ Capital to move forward, adding that nothing in his order affected the Patel family's rights under Indian law.
Meanwhile, in an unrelated move, Ross Anderson has resigned as vice president and president of Milacron Inc.'s machinery technologies North America division. The company announced the resignation which took effect July 14 in a July 20 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In December, Anderson was part of a top management reorganization that saw him move from chief financial officer of Milacron to head the company's largest operating segment. Anderson had worked for the firm since 1989.
In a July 23 e-mail, Milacron said Anderson's former subordinates will report directly to CEO Dave Lawrence. No reason was given for Anderson's leaving.
As a company, we are continuously evaluating the best way to staff and organize our operations to maximize customer responsiveness and provide our customers with the products, solutions and services that give them every possible advantage in a challenging global economy, Lawrence said in the e-mail. At the same time, I will be working closely with our managers to drive decision making closer to customers, create greater organizational efficiencies and ensure Milacron is well positioned for long-term success as we transition to new ownership.
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