Sep 12, 2012

Scepter buys Blitz USA's building, land and machinery


cepter of Canada, a major manufacturer of portable fuel containers, has purchased Blitz USA's building, machinery and land for $9.5 million.
Category: General
Posted by: MAEDS

Scepter buys Blitz USA’s building, land and machinery

Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 5:04 pm

BY JERRY J. HERRMANN
jerry.herrmann@miaminewsrecord.com

Scepter of Canada, a major manufacturer of portable fuel containers, has purchased Blitz USA's building, machinery and land for $9.5 million.

Robert Torokvei, Scepter's president, said the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. Tuesday at its hearing tentatively approved Scepter's offer. The sale will become final on Sept. 28.

He said Scepter purchased the Blitz USA site because they thought it was a good facility and centrally located. Also, they were looking to have a presence in the U.S., which they now have.

“Miami also is a stable place to do business,” Torokvei said.

Michele Bolton, Miami Area Chamber of Commerce interim executive director, said, “It is exciting to hear this business is reopening and re-employing part of Blitz USA's former employees.

“This is definite plus for the community.”

She hopes our legislators and the gas can manufacturers will keep pursuing the frivolous litigation issue so it doesn't continue.”

Torokvei said Scepter, which is based in Toronto, Canada, manufactures 20-25 percent of the world's portable gas cans; all of the containers for the U.S. Military; and 90 percent of the tanks for outboard motors.

Blitz USA, which manufactured 75 percent of the portable gas cans sold in the U.S. at the time it closed, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Nov. 9, 2011 as a result of litigation primarily characterized by individuals using gas to start or accelerate a fire.

Torokvei said they may have been the only firm to bid on Blitz USA assets because the liability issue is quite frightening to people who aren't in the business.

Specter, he said, has been marketing cans in the U.S. since the mid 1970s, and hasn't experienced the onslaught of cases Blitz USA did. “Our goal is to make the very best product we can which meets all the international standards,” Torokvei said.

The only place that has an issue with the portable gas cans is the United States, according to Torokvei. They have had no problem in Australia, Europe or Russia.

When Blitz USA/F3 Brands filed together for bankruptcy, Rocky Flick, president and CEO of Blitz USA, “First and foremost Blitz USA/F3 Brands is committed to a reorganization plan for the continued, long-term operation of the business.”

In May, Hopkins Manufacturing Corporation officials announced Monday that Hopkins had acquired the assets of F3 Brands, the leading provider of oil drains, drain pans, lifting aids and automotive ramps. F3 is the non-fuel containment business of Blitz USA. It began its separate run on Oct. 1, 2011.

Then, on June 10, Flick announced that Blitz USA was closing its sole manufacturing plant in Miami on July 31, and ceasing sales of its portable fuel containers. He said the business would be sold Sept. 6 in Bankruptcy Court, he said. Now, the machinery, building and land has been sold to Scepter.

Torokvei said the Miami plant will be run under a U.S. Affiliate, which they hope will be Scepter USA, LLC. It will be operate as a separate entity, he said, and the products will be manufactured and sold under the Scepter brand.

Initially, he said, Scepter will manufacture “plastic” one, two and five gallon portable fuel containers, similar to what Blitz USA used to make.

Torokvei expects the Miami plant to make 5-7 million portable fuel containers a year.  The Scepter containers, he said, meet the California Air Resource Board emission and spill-control regulations and the standards established around the world.

Scepter will be busy until the end of the year build new molds to enable them to manufacture Scepter's containers, which are a different style from Blitz USA's.

Torokvei said he expects manufacturing to begin in the first quarter of 2013. At that time, Scepter will hire around 80 people, he said.

Back on Nov. 9, 2011 when Blitz USA/F3 filed for bankruptcy the two firms had 300 employees. The F3 Brands had 120 employees when it separated from Blitz USA. And Blitz had about 117 employees when it closed on July 31.

Torokvei said Scepter looks forward to being part of the Miami community.Top of Form