Injection molder Home Products International Inc. plans to close its metal ironing board operations in Seymour, Ind., to focus on its plastics business.
HPI said the laundry products maker is the only domestic maker of steel ironing boards. The business comprises four facilities in Seymour: two plants, a distribution center and an office.
In a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) letter dated March 15, Chicago-based HPI said it will lay off 123 of 130 workers in Seymour from May 16-27. Some others will remain through June to close the facilities, and HPI will retain "a small number of employees to support other HPI operations."
"Market conditions over the past two years driven largely by the COVID-19 pandemic combined with unprecedented inflation in steel costs and global supply chain challenges have made it impossible for us to continue to operate profitably," CEO George Hamilton said in a news release cited by local media.
"The company is exploring various alternatives, including a possible sale to an interested party in Indiana."
Company officials did not return calls or emails requesting more information.
The news release said HPI will focus on its core business of plastics.
The move reverses the company's 1997 decision to acquire Seymour Housewares Corp. in an effort to diversify and slash in half HPI's vulnerability to volatile resin prices. The $100.7 million cash, stock and debt deal closed in 1998.
HPI began in 1952 as Selfix Inc., making plastic hooks. Since then, it has been busy. The company went public in 1988, went on an acquisition spree in the mid-1990s, considered selling itself in 2000, underwent a management-led buyout in 2004 and sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2006.
Today, the privately held company designs and produces housewares. Its lines include Homz consumer laundry and storage products, Homz Commercial organizational and storage products for the hospitality industry, Ecostorage containers made using recycled resin, and Durabilt Extreme Storage plastic totes and bins. It sells mainly to home improvement stores and mass merchandisers.
The company ranked No. 52 in Plastics News' survey of North American injection molders, with estimated 2020 sales of $180 million.