Archive for Thursday, July 27, 2006

Local jobs in jeopardy with sale of M-PACT to German firm

July 27, 2006

To Leo Lauber, the impending sale of his company reflects the current state of the medical supply industry.

By Monday evening, his company ---- M-PACT Worldwide, LLC of Eudora ---- could be owned by the multi-national corporation BSN medical Inc.

"It's logical that they would want to take the things that we manufacture and put them into their line of medical supplies, because they are a lot larger company than we are," Lauber said.

M-PACT produces a range of medical supplies that vary from specialized sponges used in eye surgeries to bone fracture management products.

Although M-PACT has nurtured its own international trade, its products could still be used on a much larger stage, he said.

"We don't have the facilities and we don't have the marketing to cover that bigger area," he said.

Based in Germany, BSN has offices in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Mideast.

In a prepared statement, Graham Siddle, chief executive officer of BSN, noted M-PACT's place in his company's overall structure.

"The acquisition will add to BSN's U.S. fracture management business, and illustrates the strategy of targeting attractive bolt-on products and companies that add value and contribute to BSN's continued future growth," Siddle said.

The German-based BSN announced its intent to move parts of M-PACT's manufacturing process to other facilities in the United States and Mexico. The move would put many of M-PACT's 67 employees out of a job.

Because of the impending shift, M-PACT president and co-owner Jim Martin said his company was already working to transition workers.

"It has been a great place to operate the business and we have a lot of good employees," Martin said. "We're interested in our employees' future."

As an example, Martin said his company has found a position for an employee in St. Louis.

While he and BSN will work to maintain a smooth transition, as many as 15 employees might remain on site with the new company, Martin said.

"We have a large oven that puts plaster of Paris on gauze," he said. "The effort to run it will cause the operation to stay up indefinitely, but other parts of the organization would be shut down in periods of time up to a year."

Although the acquisition might cause concern, Lauber said the transition won't happen instantly.

"As soon as you introduce something like this in a set up, everything gets exaggerated, and (employees) say 'Oh my God nobody is going to have a job.' That isn't true," Lauber said. "A number of people would be released, and they say we will be out of a job in so and so weeks ---- that is just an estimate that's probably not true.

"Transitions usually take longer than they think it's going to take."

Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty doesn't see the transaction having a huge ripple on Eudora's economy.

"I'm not sure if it will have a great impact, but it will have some, but we're always concerned with things like that," Beatty said. "In the greater Kansas City area there are jobs available, and it's my understanding the economy in the larger area is very stable."

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