Management at B&F Plastics Inc. hopes to use a $200,000 economic development income tax (EDIT) grant from Wayne County, Ind., to help fund a management buyout of the Richmond, Ind., film and sheet extruder.
Completion of the deal would end negotiations over B&F's future that have been ongoing since its president, Paul Bertsch IV, 44, was killed in a 2009 automobile accident.
County commissioners approved the EDIT grant Oct. 6. Commissioner Ken Paust said in a telephone interview that keeping B&F open is important to the local economy.
It's an excellent business and, rather than [have] somebody buy it and move out of the country with it, we're happy to be able to retain it and keep those jobs here, he said. B&F has done very well. In the last year, they've expanded by 30 percent and they're looking to expand to bring [more] jobs by 2012.
According to an Oct. 5 news release from the Economic Development Corp. of Wayne County, the new owners would retain 54 employees. (In July, the company said it employed 65.) The release said that if the buyout is unsuccessful the company's assets could be separated and sold at auction, ultimately resulting in B&F's closure.
B&F President Bruce Upchurch said in telephone interviews that a successful management takeover could create 26 positions by the end of 2012.
The buyout would involve two B&F officials and continue a tradition of Bertsch family involvement in the company.
Co-founder Paul Bertsch III was a former president of Richmond-based custom sheet extruder Primex Plastics Corp. before helping to start B&F in 1988. He died of a heart attack in 2005 at age 70. Co-founder Paul Bertsch IV was the sole owner of B&F when he died June 2, 2009, leaving B&F in estate.
Upchurch said under the proposed buyout, the new owners would be himself, with a majority share; Bob Cramer, B&F's vice president of production; and 19-year-old Paul Bertsch V.
We have secured most financing. We're pretty sure we're going to close [the deal] at the end of October, Upchurch said. He would not give financial details of the offer.
B&F opened as a screen-printing company focused on signs and displays.
The company began producing its own substrate materials and custom compounded materials, which are used in a range of industries including recreational vehicles, construction, office supplies, automotive and truck products, and gardening and agriculture supplies.
According to Plastics News' most recent survey, B&F ranked No. 132 among North American film and sheet manufacturers, with 2009 sales of $17 million.