The former Chardon Rubber Co. is negotiating to sell its plastics product business to an unnamed buyer, after having completed the sale of its primary rubber component operations.
The company, renamed CRC Rubber & Plastics Inc., is close to selling the plastics business and also is in discussions with several firms about its rubber custom mixing operation, according to Mark Kozel, managing director of Cleveland-based Parkland Group Inc., which is handling the sale of CRC's assets.
We have a potential customer for the plastics business, Kozel said. The sale is imminent, subject to the approval of the bankruptcy court. He would not disclose the firm's name.
Chardon Rubber sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May as sales dipped because of the recession.
At the time, it implemented a restructuring plan that called for the sale of part or all of the company and began laying off workers.
Since then, the firm has reduced its workforce by about 40 people. Only 23 workers remain, according to Marian DeVoe, president and chief operating officer of Chardon-based CRC.
In late July, the company sold most of its rubber compression and injection machines and related equipment to Wabtec Corp. of Wilmerding, Pa., for an undisclosed amount.
Included in that sale was the Chardon Rubber name, its accounts receivable, rubber formulas, customer list and other equipment.
A Wabtec spokesman confirmed the acquisition, but would not give details. Wabtec is a provider of products and services for the rail and transportation industries.
DeVoe estimated that roughly 60 percent of CRC has been sold.
About the only manufacturing CRC does now is plastics components and systems.
DeVoe said the company manufactures single, dual and triple durometer extruded seals and tubing, primarily for the transportation and appliance industries, along with gas tank straps and pressure switch tubing.
We are continuing to mix rubber for companies with their own formulas, she added.
As part of the Wabtec agreement, CRC for the past four months had manufactured products for Wabtec, which has rubber products plants in Greensburg, Pa., and Strongsville, Ohio. DeVoe said that pact expired Nov. 22.
A number of parties have shown interest in CRC's custom compounding division, also for sale.
Our custom mixing business is significantly larger than our plastics business, said DeVoe, who joined CRC in 1982 and became president and chief operating officer in 2004. Hopefully someone will buy [CRC] and keep it in Chardon. State, county and local agencies have come up with incentives to keep it here for a buyer, she said.
In addition to the plastics and the mixing units, DeVoe said CRC has a good deal of rubber molding machinery on the selling block along with miscellaneous equipment and the plant.
The onetime rubber and plastics components maker formed by DeVoe's father, Jefferson Keener Jr., and other investors in 1978, filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Cleveland in May.
Keener, who has served as the company's CEO for the last several years, is retiring.
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