ATLANTA—Semperit A.G. Holding and Shaw Almex Industries Ltd. have agreed to terminate a conveyor belt cooperation agreement they have had in North America since 2016.
Semperit said in a news release issued Nov. 14 that its U.S. sales, distribution and warehousing arm, Sempertrans USA L.L.C., and Shaw Almex will continue to operate separately in the region.
"We both agreed that it is better for our customers if we act independently and therefore can be more flexible in handling their needs," according to Tim Shaw, CEO of Atlanta-headquartered Shaw Almex. He said his company "will focus on its strength in its market." He added that the deal was ratified on Nov. 16.
A Semperit spokeswoman said when the two companies teamed up and formed the cooperative agreement in 2016, part of the plan was to create a common sales organization at Shaw Almex's facility in Atlanta.
The pact "also included some limited administration support in the areas of marketing, sales support, logistics coordination, facilities and other miscellaneous administrative tasks," she said.
Sempertrans' conveyor belts for the U.S. and the rest of North America will continue to be produced at the company's expanding plant in Poland, according to the spokeswoman.
In late 2015, a Sempertrans USA official said the Atlanta-based company was considering construction of a conveyor belt production plant in the city in the future, which would have given the company direct access to the North American market.
He reiterated that possibility again in 2016 and indicated that Shaw Almex could be part of that project.
However, the spokeswoman said, Sempertrans currently has no plans to establish a production site in the region. "The primary goal is to grow and further expand our market share with our technically advanced and high quality products," she said.
Because it currently rents space from Shaw Almex, she said, "Sempertrans USA will move into a new Atlanta location nearby in the coming weeks."
In addition to the sales, distribution and warehouse operation in Atlanta, Sempertrans has sales representatives in the U.S., Canada and Mexico in order to work closely with its customers, the spokeswoman added.
She noted that ending the agreement will give Sempertrans more flexibility in handling its customers' needs. The two companies agreed not to disclose further details on termination of the pact in North America, she said.
"Our customers remain serviced without interruption," Markus Keller, head of the Sempertrans segment, said in the release. "We continue to offer our technically advanced and high quality conveyor belts in North America."
Sempertrans, which is part of Semperit's Industrial Sector, began selling conveyor belts in the region in 2000 and later set up its sales, distribution and warehouse facility in Atlanta, according to the spokeswoman.
The business also is in the midst of closing its conveyor belt plant in France and transferring production to the company's factory in Poland, which it is in the process of expanding.
Despite some difficulties because of a poor mining market and the volatility of raw material prices, which have negatively impacted Sempertrans, Semperit recorded relatively strong sales in the first nine months of 2017, it said in mid-November.
During the period, Semperit's sales rose 3.5 percent to $790 million while the Industrial Sector's revenues increased 5.3 percent to $483.2 million.
In Semperit's Medical Sector, consisting of its Sempermed business, sales rose less than a percentage point to $306.8 million, primarily because of price increases and a cost-cutting program that led to productivity increases.
Part of the cost cutting measures involved personnel. At the end of September, the number of employees in the Sempermed operation had dropped about 13 percent to slightly more than 400 when compared to the end of September 2016.