Pretium closing Muscatine, Iowa, bottle plant

By Rhoda Miel | PLASTICS NEWS STAFF

Posted July 1, 2010

CHESTERFIELD, MO. (July 1, 4:05 p.m. ET) — Pretium Packaging LLC is closing its Muscatine, Iowa, blow molding facility as part of its consolidation of Pretium and Novapak Corp.

Private equity group Castle Harlan Inc. purchased Pretium, based in Chesterfield, Mo., early this year, and backed Pretium’s acquisition of Novapak parent company PVC Container Corp. of Eatontown, N.J. Restructuring to bring those holdings together led to the decision to shut down Muscatine, said Pretium President George Abd in a July 1 telephone interview.

Pretium was already operating plants in Muscatine and Seymour, Ind., with similar products, Abd said. Novapak brought it a third site in Manchester, Pa.

Muscatine solely supplied the agricultural chemical market, in bottles 1 gallon and larger, he said. Business there fluctuated according to the demands of the agriculture industry. Manchester and Seymour work with a wider variety of end markets and have more flexibility in bottle sizes, he said.

About 40 of the 65 employees were cut on June 30. The remaining workers will help to wind down operations and prepare equipment for transfer to the other two facilities, with the site expected to close completely by October, Abd said.

He said the decision was not related to an ongoing investigation by the Iowa Division of Labor Services’ Occupational Safety and Health Administration into an incident at Muscatine last month.

Pretium uses fluorine to treat its bottles, and a hose came loose during a shift, allowing a chemical leak, he said. State officials said they could not discuss the case until they complete their investigation.

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