Novolex closing former Fortune Plastics plant

24 February 2017

Novolex is closing a can liner facility in Old Saybrook, Conn., with plans to move equipment to other company locations.

The Hartsville, S.C.-based firm employs 92 at the Fortune Plastics location, but indicated some employees could end up finding employment at other company facilities.

“We’re doing a couple of things. One of the things we’re certainly starting today is putting our energy behind assisting our Old Saybrook team members with the next step in their career. Some employees are going to be retained after the shutdown to decommission the plant,” said Mark Daniels, senior vice president of sustainability at Novolex.

“Our attention is focused on placing our employees with other companies in the area. Our outplacement program is going to begin immediately. We are going to be taking some of the assets and sending them to our sister companies. And some of our employees have expressed a willingness to move to some of our other facilities as well,” Daniels said.

It is unclear, at this point, how many employees could end up working at other company facilities. “We’re working on that business plan right now,” he said.

In a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letter sent to the Connecticut Department of Labor, the company indicated the employees’ last day is expected to be April 23. Affected staff includes 39 bag machine operators, 18 extruder operators, 10 material handlers and warehouse employees, seven lead operators and seven maintenance workers. The other jobs are split between several other positions, including management.

Novolex was acquired by the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm, last year. That change in ownership, however, did not have an impact on the decision to close the site, Daniels said.

“We continually take a look at our manufacturing footprint for optimization,” he said.

“It’s always a difficult decision,” Daniels said. “We’re making sure that our team members are prepared for what’s next in their careers.”

The company is reaching out to other employers in the area to help their workers find new jobs, he said. “These folks have much to offer any company.”

Fortune Plastics was founded in 1955 in Old Saybrook by William Tucker and William Ward.