City tax breaks help Fabri-Kal expand
KALAMAZOO, MICH. Thermoformer Fabri-Kal Corp. on Sept. 20 received approval from Kalamazoo City Council for a series of tax breaks to expand manufacturing in the city.
According to documents filed with the city planning commission, Fabri-Kal will get tax breaks of 50 percent over 20 years on about $11 million in investments at the site, including the transfer from a Pennsylvania plant of two in-line extrusion and thermoforming lines and a Polytype printing machine.
The firm will retain 45 employees in Kalamazoo and add 20 positions as a result of the investment. It recently won a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver award from the U.S. Green Building Council for its 400,000-square-foot Kalamazoo plant, which it had upgraded over the past two years.
The Kalamazoo-based company ranked No. 8 in Plastics News' most recent survey of North American thermoformers, with related sales of $260 million for 2009. It supplies the consumer-product, electronics, food-packaging, medical, office, cups and lids, and personal-care industries.
Family-owned Fabri-Kal celebrated its 60th anniversary this year. The firm also operates plants in Hazelton, Pa., and Piedmont, S.C. It employs 800.
Lost customers force UFE to close plant
OSCEOLA, WIS. Injection molder UFE Inc. is closing its El Paso, Texas, plant, but the firm's court-appointed manager remains optimistic that the rest of the firm will find a buyer and continue operations.
UFE, based in Osceola, was ordered into receivership by a U.S. District judge in Detroit in August. The judge appointed turnaround and management group Conway Mackenzie Inc. of Birmingham, Mich., to oversee the business.
Creditors had sought court action when UFE's owner, Catalina Precision Products Inc. of Canton, Mich., defaulted on loans. UFE's four manufacturing sites in Osceola, El Paso, Monterrey, Mexico, and Singapore, have continued operations under Conway Mackenzie since then. But customers of the El Paso plant opted to move their business to other sites, said Steve Wybo, who is overseeing the business for Conway Mackenzie.
With the work moving, UFE has to close down the El Paso plant with its 45 jobs. The site is winding down production and Wybo expects it to close within 60 days.
Business remains strong at the other sites, he said Sept. 28 by phone. Conway Mackenzie also has seen robust interest from seven or eight potential buyers of the plants, including strategic and investment buyers, he said.
The business is a mix of medical, automotive and industrial contracts.
Berry invests $8.8M in bottle equipment
EVANSVILLE, IND. Evansville-based Berry Plastics Corp. will spend $8.8 million on new bottle-manufacturing equipment for its Captive Plastics subsidiary in Peosta, Iowa.
Berry's investment partner in the project is Captive Realty Co. of Iowa. Berry released more details about the major expansion in Peosta in a Sept. 30 news release. Iowa Gov. Chet Culver had previously announced the expansion, which will add 12 jobs. It is targeted for completion in the second quarter of 2011.
Plant manager David Kincade said the project is receiving assistance from local officials, as well as Iowa's Department of Economic Development and the Greater Dubuque Development Corp.
Mold-Masters buys PET mold partner
GEORGETOWN, ONTARIO Hot-runner supplier Mold-Masters Ltd. has strengthened its stake in the PET tooling market with the purchase of Abba Systems Ltd. of Brantford, Ontario.
The companies have been working together in a marketing alliance to build PET preform molds since 2009. Georgetown-based Mold-Masters announced the purchase of the precision machining company Sept. 29. Terms were not disclosed.
Global reaction to our preform mold-building initiative has been overwhelming, said Bruce Catoen, Mold-Masters vice president of business and product development. It quickly became apparent that to grow this business in line with customer expectations, we needed a seamless supply chain. Abba's expertise in preform stack manufacturing dovetails nicely with our core strengths, he said in a news release.
Mold-Masters will rename its PET business MasterPET.
Abba Systems was established in 1993 and employs 78.