Auto molder to open mold-making site
PARIS, ILL. — North American Lighting Inc. will invest $16.4 million in Elberfeld, Ind., to build its first injection mold-making plant and vertically integrate its operations.
The wholly owned subsidiary of Koito Manufacturing Co. of Tokyo will hire engineers, machinists and toolmakers this year, with production to begin by March, North American Lighting said in a June 23 news release.
Paris-based NAL injection molds parts for automotive lighting in Illinois and Alabama. The 34,000-square-foot plant in Elberfeld will employ up to 42 people by 2014. Southwest Indiana is close to experienced toolmakers, which made it a good location for NAL's mold-making center, said President and CEO Greg Conrad.
The company will receive $600,000 in tax credits and up to $35,000 in training grants from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. to help finance the plant.
Dräxlmaier invests $22M in US facility
DUNCAN, S.C. — German automotive interiors supplier Dräxlmaier Group is investing $22.4 million to expand its U.S. affiliate's plant in Duncan.
The project includes a new $10 million, 64,500-square-foot production building, plus new infrastructure and equipment, the company and South Carolina officials announced June 22.
The new production hall will expand the plant's capacity by more than a third. The plant, which is the headquarters for Dräxlmaier Automotive of America LLC, makes and assembles instrument panels, center consoles and door panels.
Vilsbiburg, Germany-based Dräxlmaier built the plant in 1998, and has expanded it twice, the last time in 2005 when a new research wing was added.
“As the demand for our products increases, this expansion will help us meet the needs of our customers and position us for future growth,” said Ulrich Eichler, chief operating officer for Dräxlmaier's North America region, in a news release.
Dräxlmaier customers in North America include BMW, General Motors/Cadillac and Volkswagen.
North American Pipe shuts Ky. plant
HOUSTON — North American Pipe Corp. has shut down its PVC pipe plant in Springfield, Ky.
Houston-based parent company Westlake Chemical Corp. announced June 23 that it had closed the plant “in an effort to reduce costs and optimize production operations as a result of excess capacity in the PVC pipe market.”
Springfield is one of the firm's smallest pipe plants. Customers will be supplied by North American Pipe's other PVC pipe plants.
Shutdown-related actions will cost an estimated $4 million against second-quarter pretax earnings, the company said.
Eastman buys Sterling plasticizer biz
KINGSPORT, TENN. — Eastman Chemical Co. has bought the plasticizer and acetic acid works of Sterling Chemicals Inc. in Texas City, Texas, for $100 million in cash.
Kingsport-based Eastman plans to restart the site's plasticizer unit to make non-phthalate plasticizers, officials said in a June 22 news release. The unit has been idle since the end of 2010. Sales volume for non-phthalate plasticizers is expected to grow at an annual rate of 7 percent in North America and Europe for the next five years, they added.
“This acquisition supports our growth strategy for our plasticizer product line,” Eastman's executive vice president, Ron Lindsay, said in the release.
Eastman will continue to operate acetic acid production at Texas City as well. The site has a long-term agreement in place to supply that material to BP Amoco Chemical Co.
No date has been set for the expansion, said Eastman spokeswoman Tracy Broadwater. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, she said. The expansion will create an undetermined number of new jobs at the site, which now employs 120, Broadwater said.
Sterling's shuttered styrene monomer assets in Texas City are not included in the deal. The Ineos Nova styrenics joint venture bought the site's output for $60 million in 2007, but then had Sterling shut down the operation to improve economics in the North American styrene market, which at that time was oversupplied.