OLDBURY, England—Teknor Apex Co. is having ongoing discussions with staff over the future of its English site as the emergency services investigate the possible arson attack at the firm's premises in April.
A source in the plastics sector told Plastics & Rubber Weekly, a sister publication to Rubber & Plastics News, that they had heard the plant was set to close by the end of the year.
However, Teknor Apex has made no decision yet regarding whether to rebuild the Oldbury facility, according to president Bill Murray, who has met with employees in the United Kingdom.
“We are looking at all options to determine our best course of action for our customers in the region," he said.
“Teknor Apex is currently engaged in a consultation process with employees to review options for the future of the plant.”
Police in West Midlands, England, confirmed that arson is still one line of inquiry for the April 29 fire. Investigators have ruled out an electrical problem or faulty machinery as cause of the fire.
A West Midlands Police spokesman said, “Arson is still a possibility, but we haven't ruled out a discarded cigarette or some form of accidental ignition.”
The blaze broke out in the roof of the factory. The area was evacuated as more than 70 firefighters tackled the blaze, which was seen in parts of Warwickshire, the Malvern Hills and parts of Staffordshire. The fire service said 75 percent of the building was damaged.
There were 29 staff on site at the time, all of whom were evacuated. No one was injured.
A Teknor Apex spokesman added, “The Oldbury plant had been used for producing TPE, nylon and engineering-grade PET compounds. Rebuilding it would be one of several options to be considered for re-establishing European capacity.
“An expert in fire origin and cause has done an investigation of the site and was unable to determine a cause.
“In accordance with the law, the investigation has been turned over to the police who are doing an additional investigation beyond the insurance company and the local fire district's work.”
Teknor Apex, a privately held company founded in 1924, is headquartered in Pawtucket, RI. It has nine locations in the U.S. and one each in Singapore, China, Belgium and England. The England facility produces nylon compounding and thermoplastic elastomer compounding.