Blow molding machinery maker Bekum Maschinenfabriken GmbH has announced it received court approval for the reorganization plan it proposed in September.
The reorganization includes moving assembly of packaging blow molding machines from Berlin to Traismauer, Austria. The firm expects to finalize its reorganization this spring and it targets completion of the assembly relocation by the third quarter of 2015. Sales, administration and development departments will remain in Berlin, where the company is based. In October Bekum revealed it planned to relocate production from Berlin.
Bekum America Corp. director of sales Gary Carr said in a phone interview that the reorganization in Europe would not affect its U.S. operation, based in Williamston, Mich.
Berlin has been assembling blow molders for packaging such as plastic bottles. Traismauer has been assembling large, industrial blow molding machines for fuel tanks and other big products, and has been making the heavy components for Bekum's products. Carr said it is easier to move assembly to Traismauer than to relocate heavy manufacturing into a large city like Berlin.
Bekum managing director Andreas Kandt said in a news release that Bekum will concentrate on its core competencies including design, development, manufacture and sale of blow molding machines. Traismauer will add more manufacturing and office space, and hire more staff. Bekum will transfer technology and business process optimization measures to Traismauer. Carr said he had no details of the expansion at Traismauer and officials in Berlin were not immediately available for comment.
“The successful reorganization of the Bekum Group is now assured,” said Bekum Chairman and owner Gottfried Mehnert in a news release issued April 20.
The District Court of Charlottenburg approved Bekum's reorganization plan on April 16.
Bekum, as a private company, does not disclose financial results, Carr noted.
Bekum's Austrian operation ran into financial trouble about five years ago because of the downturn in automobile production and a subsequent drop in orders for large blow molders to make vehicle fuel tanks. Austrian Times reported in July 2009 that the Traismauer-based business went bankrupt under debt of about 9 million euros compared with assets of about 4.2 million euros and that employment at the site fell to 84 from 300 people a year earlier. Bekum announced at that time that “insolvency became inevitable” for Traismauer and that the operation was restarted under a different name, MFT Maschinen Fabrik Traismauer GmbH.
At NPE, Bekum America debuted its U.S.-made, all-electric Eblow blow molder, a double-station machine that was molding twin-parison, 10-liter containers using sugar cane-based high density polyethylene.