The former Montell North America Inc. in Wilmington, Del., now goes by the name of Basell North America Inc. It is the regional headquarters for Basell N.V. of the Netherlands, which started up on Oct. 2 after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved the merger of three polyolefins makers: Montell, Elenac, and Targor. The merger had previously been approved by the European Commission, subject to divestiture of a certain amount of European PP capacity and Targor’s Novolen PP technology.
Basell, which is owned 50:50 by Royal/Dutch Shell Group and BASF AG of Germany, calls itself the world’s leading polyolefins producer. It is said to be the global leader in PP production and fourth in polyethylene.
Graham Machinery Group, York, Pa., has acquired Improved Blow Molding Equipment Co. and WTR Systems International, both of Chicago. The acquisition adds reciprocating-screw extrusion blow molders to Graham’s accumulator-head, linear-shuttle, and wheel designs. Improved and Graham both make accumulator-head machines. WTR Systems was created by Improved to offer turnkey systems for 5-gal polycarbonate water bottles.
Friedrich Grohe AG of Hemer, Germany, a producer of sanitary ware, has developed a new lever for water taps that uses an unusual sandwich structure of ABS over nylon. Whereas most overmolding today involves hard/soft combinations, this application utilizes two rigid plastics for their particular combination of properties. The injection molded tap lever uses ABS on the outside to provide a chrome-plated finish resembling more expensive die-cast and plated zinc. Because ABS alone does not have sufficient flexural strength to prevent flexing and cracking of the chrome plating, the ABS was molded over a core of 60% glass-reinforced nylon as a mechanical support. The core resin is Grivory GV-6H, a partially aromatic nylon from Ems-Chemie of Switzerland, whose U.S. office is in Sumter, S.C.
Krupp Werner & Pfleiderer of Stuttgart, Germany, and Ramsey, N.J., has been merged into a new joint venture with Buss Compounding Systems of Pratteln, Switzerland, and Waeschle Maschinenfabrik GmbH of Ravensburg, Germany. The venture is 50.1% owned by Georg Fischer Ltd. of Shaffhausen, Germany, and 49.9% by West Private Equity Ltd. in London and Westdeutsche Landesbank Girozentrale of Dusseldorf, Germany. The partners already owned Buss, a maker of reciprocating single-screw compounding extruders, and Waeschle, a maker of mixing and conveying equipment. KW&P is a leading producer of twin-screw compounding extruders and other mixers. With the sale of KW&P, ThyssenKrupp Group of Germany completes its exit from the plastics machinery business.
K-Tron International, Inc., Pitman, N.J., has acquired Colormax Ltd. of the U.K., a firm that makes vacuum hopper loaders, dryers, blenders, mixers, and micro-ingredient feeders. Colormax becomes part of K-Tron’s New Businesses group, which was established in June to extend K-Tron’s product range beyond its traditional feeder business.
DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers of Wilmington, Del., and Teknor Apex Co. of Pawtucket, R.I., have formed a strategic alliance to jointly develop, manufacture, and market cap-liner compounds for food and beverages in the Americas. The goal is combine DuPont’s polymer offerings with Teknor Apex’s custom compounding. Teknor will manufacture the compounds, and each firm will act as sales agent for the other’s products. Teknor is a leading supplier of food and beverage cap liners. Typical materials used are EVA, TPEs, polyolefin/elastomer blends, and PVC.
Beginning Jan. 1, Teknor will market the compounds in the U.S. and Canada, while DuPont will market them in Latin America.
Ticona in Germany recently opened its first commercial plant to produce Topas cyclo-olefin copolymer, a transparent engineering plastic made with metallocene catalyst. The 66-million-lb/yr plant is in Oberhausen, Germany. Ticona markets Topas in the U.S. through its office in Summit, N.J. In August, the U.S. FDA approved use of Topas in contact with all types of foods under all conditions of use.
ReTech Industries, Inc. of High Point, N.C., and Vecoplan Maschinenfabrik GmbH & Co. KG of Bad Marienberg, Germany, former competitors in single-shaft rotary grinders, have merged to form Vecoplan, LLC. It is based at the former ReTech headquarters in High Point.
Founded in 1969, Vecoplan reportedly invented the concept of the single-shaft rotary grinder, also known as a shredder. ReTech, started in 1996, pioneered the adaptation of the technology to plastics in North America. The merged firm will take advantage of Vecoplan’s European manufacturing and engineering capabilities and its broader product line. Vecoplan machines built in Germany will be sold here under the ReTech brand name and will incorporate ReTech design features. Machines sold here will be built specifically for the North American market.
The merger reportedly will result in shorter lead times for existing products, as well as introduction of larger rotary grinders. Other new products for North America will include granulators, screeners and separators, feed-regulating conveyors, and an expanded line of metal detectors and materials-handling equipment.
Ferry Industries, Inc., Stow, Ohio, reportedly the world’s leading producer of rotomolding machinery, has purchased another maker of such equipment, FSP Machinery (Canada) Inc., Winkler, Manitoba. Ferry has formed a new company called FSP International Inc., which will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary.
At press time, General Electric Co. agreed to acquire Honeywell International. One consequence of the $45 billion merger could be to unite the nylon resins and films business of Honeywell Engineered Applications & Solutions (formerly AlliedSignal Plastics), Morristown, N.J., with the other engineering resins, film, and sheet of GE Plastics, Pittsfield, Mass.
Occidental Chemical Corp., Dallas, has signed a non-binding letter of intent to sell its Durez phenolic resins and compounds business to Sumitomo Bakelite Co., Ltd. of Japan. Included in the proposed sale are plants in Niagara Falls, N.Y.; Kenton, Ohio; Fort Erie, Ont.; and Genk, Belgium. Occidental plans to focus its chemical division on its chlor-alkali and vinyls businesses. Sumitomo Bakelite wants to expand its worldwide phenolics business to include North America and Europe.
AGR International, Inc., Butler, Pa., has purchased a majority interest in TopWave Industries, Ltd. of Marietta, Ga. The merger combines AGR’s on-line inspection and quality-control devices for glass and plastic containers with TopWave’s off-line laboratory testing and inspection equipment for plastic containers. TopWave has operations in Luxembourg and Finland.
New Castle Industries of New Castle, Pa., has bought FR Gross Co. of Stow, Ohio. New Castle makes screws, barrels, and chill rolls. Gross builds heat-transfer rolls, industrial rolls, and pressure vessels. The merger strengthens New Castle’s position in the roll market by broadening its product line. FR Gross will keep its name but will operate as the Roll Div. of New Castle Industries.
After four years in Atlanta, Axxicon Molds, U.S. branch of the Dutch-based leading supplier of optical-disk molds, has moved to a new office in Los Angeles. Axxicon wanted to get closer to DVD replication markets for movies and computer disks. The company name has been changed to Axxicon Molds Los Angeles Inc. Its address is 85 Enterprise, Suite 420, Aliso Viejo, CA 92656 (tel. 949-360-9400 949-360-9400).
Robert Bosch GmbH of Germany has purchased Mannesmann Rexroth AG, also of Germany. Both firms make hydraulic and pneumatic pumps, valves, and other components, as well as industrial electronic controls. Bosch Automation Technology (whose U.S. headquarters is in Racine, Wis.) also makes servo drives, hydraulic drives, and assembly conveyors. Once the necessary regulatory approvals have been granted, Bosch will merge Bosch Automation Technology with the new Bosch Rexroth AG subsidiary. In the U.S., Mannesmann Rexroth Corp. is based in Chicago.
Eastman Chemical Co., Kingsport, Tenn., is increasing its global PET sales capacity through three contract-manufacturing agreements. Tiepet, Inc., of Ashboro, N.C., will use its existing capacity to manufacture Eastapak CM01 PET resin to Eastman specifications under long-term contract. Eastman will market the product in North America. Tiepet, formerly called Tolaran Polymers, has made fiber-grade PET since 1996. It began producing PET packaging resins just this past April. Eastman arranged similar production arrangements with two other suppliers for Latin America and Southeast Asia.
U.S. demand for plastic films is projected to grow 2.9% per year from 1999 to 2004, as compared with 3.9%/yr from 1994 to ’99, according to a new report from Freedonia Group Inc. in Cleveland. Demand for LDPE films will grow 2.5%/yr, while HDPE film will increase 4.3%/yr, and PP film will gain 4.8%/yr, Freedonia predicts. Packaging will account for 72% of all film uses. The 248-page report is available for $3700.
According to the latest figures from the American Plastics Council (APC) in Arlington, Va., domestic sales and use of high-volume thermoplastics plunged 5.6% in July after falling 4.4% in June. APC figures show monthly consumption dropping at a faster and faster rate since April. Total sales were up 6.3% for the first quarter but only 3.3% for the first half. After July, the tally is only 2% ahead of the first seven months of ’99.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., LP (KKR), a leading private investment firm with offices in New York, London, and Menlo Park, Calif., has agreed to buy major divisions of U.K.-based Laporte plc. The acquisition would include Laporte’s Pigments & Additives, Formulated Products and Compounds, and Electronic divisions.
Laporte is the world’s second largest supplier of iron oxide pigments for plastics and other uses. They are manufactured in St. Louis. Laporte is also a global leader in clay-based additives for plastics and other industries. It owns Southern Clay Products, Inc. of Gonzales, Texas.
Laporte’s Compounds div. includes AlphaGary Corp. of Pineville, N.C., a specialty compounder of PVC and TPE materials for data-transmission cables and low-smoke electrical insulation, as well as closure seals for beverage containers and disposable medical components.
Laporte’s Specialty Organics group, which includes Aztec Peroxides, Inc. of Elyria, Ohio, is not part of the planned sale.
Jenerxx Inc. of Brighton, Mich., is a new firm that is launching an e-commerce website designed to help plastics processors find alternative sources of engineering resins at lower cost than standard brands. Explains Robert A. Chaplin, president and principal owner, “Our intention is to act as a conduit for lesser known and/or off-shore suppliers who produce high-quality ‘generic’ brands that meet the same specifications as ‘brand-name’ products, but are available at much more attractive prices.”
Potential customers visit the firm’s website (www.jenerxx.com), fill out a request for a quote and submit it via e-mail. The firm then attempts to locate a generic source to meet the specific needs expressed in the RFQ. “We save processors the time and money they would normally expend searching for competitively priced sources on their own,” Chaplin adds. “Our extensive variety of generic engineering plastics comes from companies with the same credentials as the majors and includes resins that are approved to OEM specifications. We can also supply plastics that have UL listings or include recycled content.” Jenerxx helps customers source resins such as nylon , polycarbonate, PBT, PET, ABS, PPS, acetal, PC/ABS, PC/PET, and PC/PBT.
PolymerAdditives.com LLC began operating last month as a joint venture of three suppliers of uv stabilizers, antioxidants, flame retardants, and impact modifiers. The partners are Albemarle Corp., Cytec Industries, Inc., and GE Specialty Chemicals, Inc. Their new Web portal, www.polymeradditives.com, offers 24-hr access to one-stop on-line purchasing as well as real-time inventory, order, and shipping status.
Houston-based KoSa has started up a new 130-million-lb/yr plant expansion for PET packaging resin at Queretaro, Mexico. The company is one of the largest PET makers in Mexico and in the world.