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Expansion possible in Milton plastics acquisition

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NEIL W. JOHNSON
July 13, 2010
— Milton plastics producer New England Extrusion will be under new ownership by the end of July, following a sale officials say could mean expanded operations at the Milton plant, which employs 35 people.

Last week, Appleton-based firm Appleton Inc. announced the sale of Performance Packaging, a plastics division that includes New England Extrusion plants at Milton and Turners Falls, Mass., and another subsidiary, American Plastics in Rhinelander, to newly formed company NEX Performance Films.


NEX Performance Films is owned by Mason Wells, a Milwaukee-based private equity firm.


The $58 million sale will help Appleton Inc. reduce corporate debt and allow the company to focus on its core operation of specialty paper production, company spokesman Bill Van Den Brandt said.


Van Den Brandt said top management informed employees of the change late last week, and company officials expect to close the deal by the end of July.


New England Extrusion produces plastic film used in the packaging of food and medical products.


The company’s Milton plant, located at 1264 E. High St., has four production lines and has been in operation since 1998, plant manager Bryon Task said. Appleton Inc., which employs 2,100 people, acquired New England Extrusion in January 2005.


Greg Myers, a fund manager at Mason Wells, said plant operations at New England Extrusion and American Plastics will remain the same following the changeover, and no layoffs are expected.


“We’re backing the existing management teams, and we’re not changing the businesses or cutting employment,” Myers said in an interview. “If anything, from the Milton standpoint, there’s going to be job growth.”


Myers said plans aren’t definite, but of the three plants Mason Wells is acquiring in the deal, Milton’s is the newest and has the most space for expansion.


Myers said Mason Wells has no plans to merge any of the three plants or to combine the plants with other operations.



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