Joint venture joins firms in China, Japan
WUHAN, CHINA — A unit of Chinese auto parts maker Minth Group Ltd., Cheerplan (China), is forming a $5 million joint venture with Japanese plastic and rubber products maker Tokai Kogyo Co. Ltd.
The venture, called Wuhan Tokai Minth Automotive Parts Co. Ltd., will make plastic and rubber auto parts and help expand markets, taking advantage of Tokai's global resources and strategic partners, according to a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing from Minth.
Minth also said the venture will give it assurances about the supply and pricing of some auto parts and technology support services it buys from Tokai. Minth, based in Ningbo, said the value of those sales and purchase agreements were $11.2 million through the first eight months of 2011.
Each partner will own 50 percent of the joint venture.
Tokai, based in Tokyo, is 100 percent owned by Japan's Asahi Glass Co. Ltd. It makes plastic, rubber, polyurethane and thermoset products, along with silica sand, agricultural chemicals and construction materials.
Minth Group is incorporated in the Cayman Islands.
Automated Packaging buys retrofitted line
STREETSBORO, OHIO — Automated Packaging Systems Inc. has purchased a retrofitted Gloucester film line for its blown film plant in Garfield Heights, Ohio.
The line replaces an older system and will be used to make converter-grade film using materials like metallocene-based low density polyethylene, linear LDPE and blends.
Gloucester Engineering Co. Inc. of Gloucester, Mass., upgraded a number of parts on the retrofitted line, including an Extrol 6016 with an integrated internal bubble cooling controller, power and control panels with air- to-water heat exchangers, a ContraCool extruder with a continuous screen changer, an oscillating monolayer IBC die, an UltraCool II air ring and a bubble cage.
“The line operators appreciate the quick changeovers, easy setup and reliable operation,” said Tim Braithwaite, Automated Packaging's vice president of plastics operations, in a news release. “And we all appreciate the improved quality and rate of product being produced.”
Streetsboro-based Automated makes film that it converts into bags that are sold along with its line of bagging and sealing equipment, and machinery to make air pillows for packaging.
Mexichem predicts strong 2012 sales
TLALNEPANTLA, MEXICO — Mexican PVC pipe and resins maker Mexichem SAB de CV, which in November made a hostile takeover bid for Dutch counterpart Wavin NV, said it expects sales of $4.36 billion this year, up 13.2 percent from 2011, regardless of whether the Wavin and other potential deals are cemented.
The Tlalnepantla company, whose other operations include hydrofluoric acid, chlorine and caustic soda production and fluorite extraction, had 2011 sales of $3.85 billion, up 34 percent from 2010, it said Jan. 18.
The company also said it expects 2012 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $1 billion.
The expected increases in 2012 sales and EBITDA “will be a result of projects announced in 2011, in addition to the organic growth of our businesses, and do not take into consideration possible acquisitions by the company,” Mexichem said in a statement on the Mexican Stock Exchange website, where its posted its preliminary annual results for 2011.
The global economic crisis has “given Mexichem new opportunities and challenges and allowed us to consolidate our markets and strengthen our business,” CEO Rafael Dávalos said in the statement.
According to the company, the 34 percent sales boost in 2011 was due primarily to its acquisitions of resins maker Policyd Plásticos SA de CV, PVC pipe maker Plásticos Rex SA de CV and compounder AlphaGary Corp. of Leominster, Mass.
Mexichem, Latin America's largest manufacturer of PVC pipe, made an initial bid of 8.5 euros per Wavin share in November, improved the offer to 9 euros in December and then again to 10 euros later in the month, when finally Wavin granted due diligence access to the Mexican company.
Mexichem's latest offer values Zwolle, Netherlands-based Wavin — Europe's largest pipe maker — at 500 million euros (about $646 million).
Departure of Fortis a surprise in Mexico
RAMOS ARIZPE, MEXICO — Local government officials said Fortis Plastics LLC abandoned the northern Mexico municipality of Ramos Arizpe just before Christmas “without any warning to their employees, suppliers or government institutions.”
“We don't know the situation of the company,” said a spokesman for the city's economic development office. “[Fortis] hadn't expressed any wish to leave the city or declare bankruptcy.”
Asked whether local authorities knew that Fortis management planned to close the 132,000-square-foot factory, the spokesman said by email: “No. We weren't aware of the situation of the plant and their plans to leave the city.”
Local authorities were surprised by Fortis' manner of departure, the spokesman said. Fortis employed about 300 at the plant, but he was unable to say whether the workers were fully paid before the factory closed.
Three other plastics processors operate plants in Ramos Arizpe, according to the spokesman: Plastic Omnium, Plastinor S. de R.L. and Bic.
Molded Fiber Glass adds equipment in Pa.
UNION CITY, PA. — Molded Fiber Glass Union City installed a Multicam 7000-series, computer numerically controlled, heavy-duty router in early January in its fabrication department.
The machine can handle sheets up to 12 feet wide at the 300,000-square-foot Union City facility, according to Jane Roche, MFG UC marketing coordinator, who spoke in a telephone interview.
The machine is extremely quick and allows for shorter lead times as well as versatility in the trimming, drilling and cutting of fiberglass parts, Roche said.
The company's newest CNC machine has standard automatic tool calibration, a remote computer downloading system, unlimited memory and a 2,200-inch-per-minute cutting speed, quality engineer technician Chris Stebnisky said in a statement.
The equipment will complement the existing robotic cutting systems at MFG's Union City operation, which include Motoman and Robotrim cutting systems, along with three water-jet trimmers.
Molded Fiber Glass was known for its fiberglass boats in the 1950s, but now has a more diversified approach, doing custom manufacturing.
MFG UC operates in the alternative-energy, construction, heavy-truck, military, locomotive, transportation and corrosion markets.
The company is part of Molded Fiber Glass Co. of Ashtabula, Ohio. The parent company operates 15 entities in the U.S. and Mexico.