Effective Jan. 1, Rexam plc was to have sold one of its packaging plants to existing management including the executive who sold the plant to Rexam in 1999. Terms were not disclosed. London-based personal-care giant Rexam also announced it will close a blow molding plant in New Hampshire.
Rexam agreed to sell an injection molding plant in Sussex, Wis., to a group led by Keith Everson, who was business unit manager for the home and personal-care unit of Rexam Personal Care, Rexam spokesman Greg Brooke said Dec. 28.
The 110,000-square-foot plant employs 210. Brooke said, and will continue contract manufacturing for Rexam under the name Sussex IM Inc., he said.
The Sussex plant molds containers for industrial uses, Brooke said, and even though those are not a core business for Rexam, the company valued the facility as a world-class manufacturer, according to a Dec. 23 internal memo he provided.
Everson was president of the former Sussex Plastics Inc. when, in 1999, he sold the business to Rexam. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Dec. 24 that Rexam paid $31 million for Sussex Plastics, which the newspaper said was founded in 1977 and got most of its sales before the Rexam takeover from the design and manufacture of cosmetics compacts.
Reached by telephone, Everson would not comment on the past or present deals, citing confidentiality agreements.
According to the internal memo, the decision to sell the Sussex plant was part of Rexam Personal Care's strategy to focus on the toiletries, cosmetic and household goods segments.
Meanwhile, Rexam announced that it will close a plastic packaging plant in Nashua, N.H., in the fourth quarter of 2010.
According to a Dec. 29 news release, the plant, which began operations in 1974, makes injection blow molded products for the health-care market. It employs about 100.
The decision is part of the company's plan to align our manufacturing capabilities across our global plastics business, CEO designate Graham Chipchase said in the release.
Chipchase, formerly Rexam's plastic packaging group director, succeeds retiring CEO Leslie Van de Walle.
Brooke said the New Hampshire plant's products include pill and tablet bottles, and resins processed there included high density polyethylene and polypropylene.
Rexam acquired the plant in 2007 as part of its $1.8 billion purchase of the plastics packaging assets of Owens-Illinois Inc.
Affected employees will receive outplacement help. Brooke said the Nashua plant's production would be absorbed by other U.S. production sites.
Rexam has recently announced a spate of plant closings as part of a company-wide effort to reduce overcapacity:
* A plant in Hamlet, N.C., that makes injection and compression molded closures, and custom packaging for food and beverage applications, will close in the first quarter of 2010, cutting 200 jobs.
* A factory in Beach, Fla., that makes foam pump dispensers for the personal-care and household product sectors, will close early in 2010, costing 65 employees their jobs.
* In Holden, Mass., a former Precise Technology Inc. plant, which once gained fame as a single-customer operation that molded packaging trays for new Gillette razors, was closed in October, with a loss of about 70 jobs.
In a November statement to investors, London-based Rexam said that recent cost reduction actions were to offset continued weak demand in 2009.
Rexam said its pharmaceutical business grew, and personal care benefited from some new product launches. However, in the closures business, demand for carbonated soft drink and bottled water closures continued to decline in what the company said might be a more enduring trend.
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