Two of the best-known companies in the U.S. plastics processing industry will be joined. Unfortunately, it appears one will soon disappear from the scene. Berry Plastics Corp. (Evansville, IN) is acquiring “certain assets” of Erie Plastics (Corry, PA), which was forced to file for bankruptcy protection on September 29, 2008, after P&G, a customer that accounted for almost half of its business, took that business elsewhere.
There is no real happy end to the story, unfortunately, as Berry Plastics was the successful bidder in an auction for the majority of the assets of Erie Plastics (equipment, inventory and other tangible and intangible assets). Berry will not be adding Erie to its stable of 68 manufacturing facilities; in fact, local reports at the Go Erie website quoted Paul ‘Hoop’ Roche, Erie’s CEO and a past Notable Processor in MPW’s annual selection, as stating, “It is our understanding they will run for 60 to 90 days and transfer work to other plants and shut this one down.” He worked at and eventually took over the company founded by his father in 1960. Erie employed nearly 600 just a few years ago; now it appears the last of the Erie team soon will be searching for work elsewhere.