GH offers $5 million for Vectrix assets
MIDDLETOWN, R.I. Vectrix Corp., maker of an all-electric, thermoplastic-bodied scooter, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but has a deal in hand to sell its assets to a private equity company.
New York-based GH Venture Partners LLC will pay $5.05 million for Vectrix's assets in a deal announced Sept. 28. Vectrix filed for Chapter 11 with in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., the same day. The purchase, if approved by the court, will include payment of both debts and more than $1.7 million in cash.
Vectrix of Middletown introduced its high-end electric scooter two years ago, intending it as an electric competitor with top-of-the-line European-made scooters. The lightweight body uses polypropylene, polycarbonate and ABS in a variety of blends on a scooter that can travel up to 62 miles on a single charge and at speeds up to 60 miles per hour.
Parts and body panels for the vehicle were produced at a subsidiary in Wroclaw, Poland, but the company never reached full capacity. In its last fiscal year, Vectrix sold 1,167, generating $6.4 million in final sales and $5.5 million in deferred revenue from sales to dealers. But the company had $76 million in expenses, President and CEO Michael J. Boyle said in an affidavit.
In the past, the firm had been able to tap into funds from private investors to finance research and prototype production, but by late 2008, capital funds dried up, leaving Vectrix with fewer options, Boyle said. The company cut jobs and costs, but finally decided it could not continue.
GH Venture is now the preferred bidder for the Vectrix assets. GH also has invested in airplane companies Adam Aircraft Industries and Cirrus Design both of which use composites. Vectrix said it expects to continue normal operations under Chapter 11.
Mitsubishi, PTT consider bio venture
TOKYO Japan's Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. and Thailand's PTT Public Co. Ltd. said they will consider forming a joint venture to manufacture bio-based polybutylene succinate.
MCC said Sept. 28 that the two companies signed an agreement to study developing a bio-based version of polybutylene succinate, and said they hope to complete a feasibility study for a joint venture by June.
A Mitsubishi spokesman said via e-mail that the companies have no details, such as the location of any potential plants or investment amounts. He said the material would target markets like plastic cutlery and agricultural films, where waste is sometimes burned.
Tokyo-based MCC already makes a petroleum-based version of PBS, which is biodegradable, and said it has developed a process to take it a step further and make succinic acid from bio-based resources. It said it might make its GS Pla polybutylene succinate from biosuccinic acid.
The Mitsubishi spokesman said Thailand has a good supply of low-cost biomass resources, and the two companies have a good relationship stemming from PTT's previous license agreement with Mitsubishi to make bisphenol A.
Rexam won over by all-electric presses
MUNICH Rexam Pharma GmbH product and technology manager Frank Henninger said a study of all-electric vs. hydraulic injection molding machines at its Neuenberger, Germany, plant has revealed huge energy-saving potential and focused its investment strategy in the all-electric direction.
Speaking at Krauss-Maffei's open house in Munich earlier this year, Henninger said it has completed a thorough comparative analysis of Krauss-Maffei's EX series all-electric machines against its hydraulic CX units.
The results, he said, have led to a change in strategy. Rexam Pharma will always go for all-electric machines in future, he said. All-electric machines outperformed hydraulics on energy cost, repeatability, and closing and opening times, Rexam said.
New negative-pressure system to debut
MIDDLEBURY, CONN. Paul Allen, who patented a negative-pressure temperature-control system in 1977, is promising to introduce a lighter, less-expensive system at MassPlastics, slated for Oct. 21-22 in Fitchburg, Mass.
Allen, president and owner of Middlebury-based Logic Corp., said in a Sept. 28 telephone interview that the new product for open-loop temperature-control units will measure 12 inches by 10 inches by 41/2 inches and will weigh less than 20 pounds.
We believe this is a big deal for the industry because it will be far less expensive than any negative-pressure controller, he said, adding that the price will be disclosed at the show.
The system follows a concept that if water or fluid is below atmospheric pressure as it passes a leak, it will not leak out, but instead air will leak in. The newest product, trademarked Baby Seal, can handle 1-6 gallons a minute. A patent is pending.
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