Poplar Bluff plastics plant likely to close in December

Thursday, October 27, 2011

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Fortis Plastics has filed documents with the state indicating it will likely shutter its Poplar Bluff location shortly before Christmas.

Permanent closure is expected between Dec. 2 and Dec. 16 by the South Bend, Ind.-based company that employs 142 people here, including 18 temporary workers.

"Because of Fortis's inability, to date, to secure additional capital, Fortis may be forced to close its Poplar Bluff facility," reads a document filed with the Missouri Department of Economic Development under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires employers with more than 100 workers provide 60 days notice of closures or mass layoffs.

The document was received by the DED Friday and released Tuesday.

"Fortis continues to pursue every realistic opportunity to secure the capital necessary to keep the Poplar Bluff facility in operation, but Fortis's management can make no guarantees as to the success of that effort," the document further states.

Larry Knight, listed as the contact for the company's corporate office, would not comment Tuesday on Fortis's financial situation.

Knight said he was sure state rapid response teams would visit the plant, but when would be up to the plant's human resources manager.

The teams will meet with employees before the plant closes to discuss services such as unemployment insurance, programs offered at the Missouri Career Center, and retraining and education opportunities.

Sources say the company also plans to file for employee benefits under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Act, which provides U.S. workers with additional services, such as further retraining opportunities, when jobs are lost as a result of foreign trade.

Management at the plant confirmed the rapid response teams have been contacted, but said they have been directed not to comment on the closure.

Fortis Plastics was formed in late 2008 when its parent company, Monomoy Capital Partners LP of New York, N.Y., purchased Leggett and Platt and Atlantis Plastics. It provides molded plastic pieces for products including automobiles and appliances.

Fortis has in recent months shuttered a plant in Kentucky and scheduled a plant in Arkansas for closure. The locations had a combined 160 workers.

Documents published in 2010 by the group's accounting and consulting firm, Crowe Horwath, describe Fortis as a $200 million custom plastic molder with approximately 1,200 employees in nine facilities located throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

It was listed in 2009 as one of the top 20 injection molders in the country, according to a survey by Plastics News.

Plastics News reported last week the company has closed five other plants since 2008: Elkhart, Ind.; LaVergne, Tenn.; Alamo, Texas; Brownsville, Texas; and Booneville, Miss.

The group also reported that in the same time frame, Fortis purchased two plants in Mexico: a facility in Ramos Arizpe from Moll Industries and a plant in Chihuahua from Nypro Inc.

Pertinent address:

Poplar Bluff, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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