A former rival plans to revitalize the operations of defunct plastic fuel-can molder Blitz USA Inc., which was once the largest such producer in the U.S.
Scepter Holdings Inc. of Toronto said it bought Blitz assets including the land, buildings and machinery in Miami, Okla., for an undisclosed amount, effective Sept. 28.
“Our immediate goal is to try to address the current void in the portable fuel-container marketplace brought about by the forced bankruptcy of Blitz,” Scepter President Robert Torokvei said in a Sept. 28 news release.
Scepter said it wants to make a viable export business based in the Miami location and to broaden the operation's product line to use its excess capacity and technology.
Blitz closed its doors in July after unsuccessfully trying to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Prior to closing, Blitz sold its F3Brands LLC business of oil drains and related vehicle products in a bankruptcy auction sale to Hopkins Manufacturing Corp. of Emporia, Kan.
Blitz was inundated with lawsuits alleging injuries during use of its fuel containers. The firm could not financially protect itself from those suits.
Torokvei said the high number of suits in the U.S. is a concern.
“It's something we have not witnessed in any other country we sell to around the world,” Torokvei said in the release.
Scepter said it will address future concerns by manufacturing containers that meet or exceed U.S. and international standards.
“Everyone needs to realize that gasoline must be handled in a safe manner, at all times,” he said.
The Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association has called for congressional intervention to stabilize the business environment for plastic fuel containers. PFCMA is based in Sacramento, Calif.
Scepter plans to reopen the Miami operation in early 2013.
“We want a presence in the U.S. and Miami is centrally located with an excellent workforce,” Torokvei said. The business will run as a separate entity under the name Scepter Manufacturing LLC.
Scepter claims to be a major producer of fuel cans for the retail market and the sole supplier of portable fuel containers to the U.S. military. It also said its supplies 90 percent of the international OEM market for remote, portable, outboard-engine fuel tanks.