TORONTO—NRI Industries Inc., a longtime player in recycled rubber products, is closing two of its four plants, leaving the auto parts business and laying off about 75 percent of its work force, according to news reports.
The Toronto-based company made the announcement Oct. 26, seven weeks after it announced its reorganization under the Companies´ Creditors Arrangement Act, the Canadian equivalent of Chapter 11. At the time, NRI President Al Power said he would attempt to sell the company as a whole to an appropriate buyer, keeping all its operations intact and its approximately 550-600 employees on the job.
Power didn´t return several phone calls to his office. The NRI Web site still lists automotive parts among the company´s product lines, and the latest press releases on the site date from August 2006, involving NRI´s cargo-securing and noise control products.
According to a story from the "Toronto Star," NRI will close its two auto parts facilities and lay off about 425 workers within the next three months. Power said NRI hoped to survive as a manufacturer of rubber mats, flooring and sound dampeners, the newspaper said.
NRI, which began life in 1927 as National Rubber Co., recycles about 1.5 million scrap tires annually. Power said he expected the company to continue to use 70 to 80 percent of that total, because rubber mats and flooring require more rubber than auto parts, the report said.
The firm has annual revenues of about $57.6 million and owes almost $22.1 million to its creditors, including about $15.2 million to the Bank of Montreal, the news story said.
In September when NRI filed its reorganization, Power named a number of factors that led to the financial problems. The worst was the strengthening of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar, meaning that NRI´s costs were rising against the revenue it received from its mostly U.S. customers.