Wisconsin Manufacturing News

Muskego machine shop looks for buyer after credit problems; Milwaukee specialty printing firm moves to New Berlin; Joint venture to promote Wisconsin manufacturers’ exports; Unilever to close Milwaukee plant; Modine expands stock offering; Koss plans stock split to meet Nasdaq requirements

Muskego machine shop looks for buyer after credit problems

Wiza Industries LLC, a Muskego-based machining shop, is now working to find a buyer amid credit problems and prevent closure of its facility in Muskego’s industrial park.

According to a filing with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, the company could close on Nov. 23, resulting in the loss of 132 jobs. Wiza occupies a 200,000 square foot facility in Muskego’s industrial park, which houses about 150 CNC machines.

The company filed for Wisconsin Chapter 128 court protection on Sept. 2, after it was unable to obtain capital it needed to keep the business operating, according to a letter to state officials by Michael Polsky, the court-appointed receiver in the matter. Polsky is an attorney with Beck, Chaet, Bamberger & Polsky S.C., a Milwaukee law firm that handles many Chapter 128 cases in metro Milwaukee.

Wisconsin Chapter 128 functions similar to federal bankruptcy. It can either allow for a company’s liquidation or reorganization under new ownership.

Muskego Mayor John Johnson said he met with Wiza officials last week. Although the company has filed a closure notice with the state, it is hoping to find a buyer through the Chapter 128 process.

"They have a positive cash flow, but their creditors want their money so they filed for court receivership," Johnson said. "They’re (the company’s owners) thinking positively – they have a good list of accounts and the business is starting to swing upward."

If a buyer is found, Muskego would consider offering investor revenue bonds to help facilitate the purchase, Johnson said.

"We’re interested in keeping them here and we’ll use our financial power to make that happen if it works for us," he said.

Wiza Industries is owned by Longview Capital Partners LLC, a private equity firm with offices in Evanston, Ill., and Italy.

Milwaukee specialty printing firm moves to New Berlin

Marcus Promotions Inc., a printing firm that specializes in materials for the performing arts industry, has moved to a 4,800-square-foot facility in New Berlin at 2821 S. Moorland Road.

The new facility is significantly larger than the company’s former facility in Milwaukee and will also accommodate a 700-square-foot central print room, housing a Xerox iGen digital press.

By moving and installing the specialized print room, Marcus Promotions will be able to offer color covers and program inserts, short-run, on-demand printing of promotional materials, improved image quality and a reduced environmental imprint with non-toxic dry inks and minimized waste.


Joint venture to promote Wisconsin manufacturers’ exports

The Wisconsin Department of Commerce and the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership (WMEP) announced a joint venture to ramp up the number of state manufacturers that export their goods and services.

Under the plan, WMEP and the Department of Commerce will combine their resources and expertise to help small and mid-size manufacturers assess and develop their export potential.  The initiative will accelerate the delivery of Department of Commerce export services to WMEP’s network of client firms and other manufacturers across Wisconsin.  The effort will target manufacturers with outreach that includes personal contacts to manufacturers, public workshops and other communications aimed at building awareness, knowledge and capabilities. 

The WMEP will share its resources with the Department of Commerce, but will continue to operate as an independent nonprofit organization.

"There are tremendous opportunities in international trade for Wisconsin manufacturers," said Commerce Secretary Richard Leinenkugel. "By working with WMEP, an organization with a proven track record of helping manufacturers compete and win, we can reach more state manufacturers who may not know of the great potential that exporting holds."

"Demand for manufactured goods is rising more sharply around the world than within the U.S., creating new opportunities for Wisconsin manufacturers to tap international markets," said Michael Klonsinski, WMEP’s executive director. "The success of our manufacturing economy depends on our ability to adapt to a global marketplace."

Wisconsin exports increased by 9.2 percent to $20.6 billion in 2008, making Wisconsin the 18th-largest exporting state, according to the Department of Commerce.

Unilever to close Milwaukee plant

Unilever Foodsolutions informed the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development that it will close its plant at 8622 N. 87th St., Milwaukee, resulting in the permanent elimination of 38 jobs. The facility is scheduled to close by Dec. 31.

Unilever Foodsolutions is based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and is one of the world’s leading global foodservice businesses.

Modine expands stock offering

Modine Manufacturing Co. has expanded its previously announced public stock offering from 9 million to 12 million shares, priced at $7.15 per share.

The offering includes a 30-day option for the underwriters to purchase up to an additional 1.8 million shares on the same terms and conditions.

Assuming no exercise of the underwriters’ option, Modine expects to receive net proceeds from the offering of approximately $81 million after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated expenses of the offering.

Racine-based Modine intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to reduce indebtedness and for general corporate purposes.

J.P. Morgan is the book-running manager and Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. is the lead manager for the offering. Comerica Securities and KeyBanc Capital Markets are acting as co-managers.

Koss plans stock split to meet Nasdaq requirements

Koss Corp. announced it has submitted a two-for-one stock split plan to the meet the minimum listing standards of the Nasdaq Global Market.

The plan will be reviewed by Nasdaq and, if deemed to be acceptable, Koss would be granted up to 105 calendar days achieve compliance.

Koss believes that a two-for-one forward stock split would increase the number of its publicly held shares sufficiently to comply with the listing rule.

On Sept. 16, Koss announced it had received a notice from Nasdaq indicating that it no longer meets the minimum 750,000 publicly held shares requirement for the Nasdaq Global Market.

Koss said that if it is unsuccessful in maintaining its Nasdaq listing, the company may pursue listing and trading of its common stock on the Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board or another securities exchange or association with different listing standards than Nasdaq.

Glendale-based Koss manufactures high-fidelity stereophones, speaker-phones, computer headsets, telecommunications headsets, active noise canceling stereophones, wireless stereophones and compact disc recordings of American Symphony Orchestras on the Koss Classics label.

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