Wisconsin Manufacturing News

Plexus Corp. to open plant in Romania; Modine struggles to stay afloat; Rockwell to acquire Canadian engineering firm

Plexus Corp. to open plant in Romania

Neenah-based Plexus Corp intends to expand with operations in Oradea, Romania, where it has entered into an agreement to lease approximately 72,000 square feet of space.

The new facility establishes the first phase of Plexus’ lower-cost European manufacturing strategy, which will provide customers with a balanced regional solution.

Coupled with the company’s Kelso, Scotland, manufacturing facility and design services capabilities in Livingston, Scotland, the new location will expand the firm’s ability to deliver a lowest total-cost value proposition to the broader European region.

Production in Oradea is expected to begin in the second half of fiscal 2009.

Todd Kelsey, senior vice president of global customer services for Plexus, said, "We believe that the Oradea facility will provide our global customers with a lower total-cost European solution, particularly for products with European end-markets."

Modine struggles to stay afloat

Modine Manufacturing Co. filed a notice with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) last Tuesday, informing regulators that the company has been unable to meet its debt obligations and is negotiating with its lenders for new terms of repayment.

In the filing, the Racine-based manufacturer of heating and cooling equipment stated, "Presently, the Company is not able to borrow on its existing revolving credit facility and will not be able to do so until closing on the waiver and amendments. However, at December 31, 2008, the Company had cash of $73 million that it believes will be sufficient to fund operations without accessing the revolving credit facility while the Company closes on the waiver and amendment or pursues other financing options, if needed. While the Company is confident that it will be able to close on the waiver and amendment with its primary lenders and holders of notes, and in fact is in the final stages of doing so, if it is unable to do so and also unable to obtain alternative financing arrangements, there would be substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern."

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Modine anticipates reporting a loss from continuing operations in a range of $55 million to $58 million.

Rockwell to acquire Canadian engineering firm

Rockwell Automation Inc. has agreed to purchase the majority of the assets of Rutter Hinz Inc., an engineering company.

Rutter Hinz is a wholly owned subsidiary of Rutter Inc., a publicly held Canadian company headquartered in Saskatoon.

Rutter Hinz’s annual sales are approximately $35 million (U.S.). Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Rutter Hinz has engineering expertise in industrial automation, process control and power distribution, specifically for the oil and gas industry, in addition to the pipeline, utility, mining, forestry and food and beverage sectors. The company’s management team and approximately 220 employees will join Rockwell Automation’s Systems & Solutions business unit.

"This acquisition accelerates the growth of Rockwell Automation’s business and reach in Canada’s heavy industries and oil and gas market, enhances our Canadian oil sands opportunities, and establishes a robust delivery capability in a major market with critical expertise," said Terry Gebert, vice president and general manager, Rockwell Automation Systems & Solutions.

"Rutter Hinz customers will continue to receive the high level of service they currently enjoy," said Ryan Hinz, Rutter Inc. president and chief executive officer.

"This acquisition continues to strengthen our global project management and engineering solutions delivery capability – as we have done with ProsCon and ICS Triplex acquisitions in Europe, CIE in Latin America, and Xi’An Hengsheng in China," Gebert added. "Customers will now benefit from the expanded portfolio of application solutions, expertise and delivery capacity that Rutter Hinz offers, particularly to the oil and gas market."

The acquisition includes Rutter Hinz’s engineering and automation businesses in Canada and the United States, but not its Newfoundland consulting engineering business or the assets of Rutter Technologies Inc.

The acquisition is expected to close during the current quarter.

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