It's been a busy week for A. Schulman Inc., as the Fairlawn, Ohio-based materials firm announced an expansion of its Texas plant and the leasing of a building it owns in Ohio to biopolymer products maker Plantic Technologies Ltd.
In China, Texas, Schulman will add several production lines to make specialty powders, primarily for the rotomolding market. The new lines should be operational by early 2012, officials said in a March 30 news release. Schulman bought the plant from ICO Inc. in 2010.
Gustavo Perez, the company's general manager and chief operating officer of the Americas, said the project will allow the plant to improve efficiency by consolidating several processes into one area.
In the deal with Plantic, Schulman will lease a 6,000-square-foot building in Akron, Ohio, to the Altona, Australia-based firm. Plantic will spend almost $5 million to install manufacturing operations at the site. The project is expected to create 15 jobs.
Plantic is receiving a 50 percent tax credit for seven years from the city of Akron as part of the investment. The tax credit with an estimated value of almost $90,000 requires Plantic to remain at the site for 10 years.
Plantic operates plants in Australia and Germany, manufacturing film and sheet products from corn-based bioplastics. The company also sells its bioplastic resins directly to other plastics processors.
In addition to those sites, Plantic operates sales offices in Germany and in North Andover, Mass. Officials with the firm could not be reached for comment.
Schulman posted sales of $1.6 billion in its fiscal 2010, which ended Aug. 31. Sales for the first quarter of its fiscal 2011 ended Nov. 30 were up almost 37 percent to $495 million when compared with the year-ago period. First-quarter profit, however, fell more than 80 percent to $9.4 million in the same comparison.
Officials said the drop was due in part to a slide in per-pound profit, which was exceptionally high in the first quarter of the previous fiscal year.
On Wall Street, Schulman's per-share stock price already has taken a bit of a ride in 2011. The price started the year around $23, fell under $21 in early January, but has recovered and was just under $25 in early trading April 1.