Custom thermoformer TriEnda LLC's new owners are assessing the company's financial condition even as they plan to resume production of its shipping pallet lines.
Pete Borum, a spokesman for Lexington, Ky.-based Spara LLC, which acquired TriEnda June 24, said in a June 28 telephone interview that all 125 employees at TriEnda's Portage, Wis., headquarters were laid off. Of those, 101 were rehired June 27 after reapplying for their jobs.
Those workers — who were abruptly notified of TriEnda's sale to Spara, its renaming to Spara Logistics LLC, and the layoffs in a June 23 letter from TriEnda President Curt Zamec — will get similar benefits, but will take a 10 percent pay cut from their TriEnda salaries, Borum said.
“In order to keep as many jobs as possible, we thought it was in the best interests of the company to enact that cut upfront, and to allow for reclaiming those salaries as revenue grows for the company,” Zamec said.
Spara's purchase includes an operation in Marion, Ind., where TriEnda has leased a plant.
In a July 1 telephone interview, Darren Reese, Marion development director, said Spara has begun negotiations with the property owner there, but he was unsure of the factory's future.
Zamec referred requests for comment to Spara. Borum said the company — which fabricates metal and plastic parts for customers in the shipping, heavy-truck, automotive, defense and aerospace industries — recently formed a new logistics group with a focus on lightweight pallet tooling and manufacturing.
“This whole thing has taken place in a pretty short time period, and so there are a lot of details that are to be worked out,” Borum said.
“We are in the process of reaching out to all of our customers right now, letting them know what's going on in general. We fully intend to honor our customer relationships going forward,” he added.
Borum said Spara bought TriEnda from Fifth Third Bank in an Article 9 foreclosure sale. He did not provide details of the private transaction.
He acknowledged that “problems” at TriEnda got it into foreclosure.
“It was a revenue problem, which we are in a good position to be able to fix, because TriEnda had a lot of customer relationships that we can introduce Spara Logistics to, in order to increase the amount of work flow,” Borum said.
In Indiana, Marion's Reese said TriEnda had experienced supply-chain problems at that facility, and for months it had been staffed by a skeleton crew.
In 2008, TriEnda spent $20 million to retrofit the leased Marion plant, qualifying for a state incentives package of about $2.5 million. The plant opened in January 2009. While TriEnda did not receive some of those incentives because it failed to meet required benchmarks, Reese said the original package is available to Spara.
“It's a great plant; I hope they can keep it open,” he said. “I'm willing to do what I have to do to offer incentives. I've continued to offer assistance.”
Back in Wisconsin, Borum said early last week that production there could resume that week, but he did not return phone calls to confirm that information.
Cleveland native Zamec will stay on at Spara Logistics as CEO.
In December 2007, he bought TriEnda from thermoforming major Wilbert Inc. of Broadview, Ill. He had been president and CEO of Wilbert since 1999. The TriEnda purchase occurred only weeks after Zamec received the Thermoformer of the Year Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Division.
Founded in 1975, TriEnda ranked No. 15 among North American thermoformers in Plastics News' most recent survey, with 2010 sales of $120 million.