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Hexpol to shut down mixing line, affecting 61 workers

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MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala.—Hexpol A.B. has issued a Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification notice to its Robbins L.L.C. facility in Muscle Shoals.

The Dec. 8 notice will affect 61 employees, according to the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affair Workforce Development Division's website on plant closings/layoffs.

A Hexpol spokesman said the Muscle Shoals plant is not closing. The firm will decommission one mixing line and relocate that production elsewhere. The fabrication of tire retreading products will continue at Muscle Shoals.

The spokesman said several employees at Muscle Shoals have been offered positions at other Hexpol facilities.

“This re-focus is meant to reinforce the Robbins brand as the global market leader in heat-resistant curing tubes and envelopes for passenger, light, medium and heavy truck as well as industrial and off-the-road applications,” the spokesman said in an email. “We anticipate significant growth in this product line.”

Hexpol also completed another acquisition, entering an agreement to acquire the plastics business of RheTech Inc. for $112 million.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in early 2015 pending regulatory approvals, RheTech said.

RheTech is a manufacturer of filled and reinforced polyolefin, nylon and other engineered resin compounds, multi-functional color concentrates and additives.

The company serves the automotive, truck, electronics, construction and consumer markets.

John Levinson, RheTech president and CEO, said the firm plans to maintain its management, production lines, facilities and employee structure.

The company is headquartered in Whitmore Lake, Mich., and operates three other plants—in Fowlerville, Mich.; Sandusky, Ohio; and Blacksburg, S.C.

The business employs 212 and posted sales of $117 million in 2013.

In 2014, Hexpol added Portage Precision Polymers Inc.—a rubber compounder in Mogadore, Ohio—and Kardoes Rubber Co.—a Lafayette, Ala.-based rubber compounder—to its North American holdings for a combined $45 million.