French firm to close Curtil Marland Mold in Pittsfield; 40 positions lost

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PITTSFIELD — The French tool maker that merged with Marland Mold Inc. seven years ago has decided to close the Pittsfield-based precision injection mold maker, sources said on Wednesday.

The announcement at Curtil Marland Mold, as the plant has been known since the merger, occurred last Friday, after which many of the company's 40 some employees were let go, a source said. Some employees were still on the job Wednesday at the company's plant in the Stearnsville Business Park off West Housatonic Street. It could not be determined Wednesday when the Pittsfield plant will cease operations for good.

Hugo Meillat, chief financial officer for the company, did not return a call seeking comment. The merged company is based in St. Claude, France, near the Swiss border.

Because Curtil Marland Mold had less than 50 employees, the company was not required to file paperwork notifying the state that it planned to close. As a result, state employment officials have been unable to provide rapid response services to employees who have been let go.

Employees who need assistance are asked to register with the BerkshireWorks Career Center at 160 North St. Berkshire Works can be reached at 413- 499-2220, or at berkshireworks.org.

Founded by Pittsfield residents Paul Ferland and Severino Marchetto in 1946, Marland at one time was Pittsfield's biggest injection mold maker. The company was sold to VCA Corp. in 1968, which was purchased six years later by Ethyl Products Co. of Richmond, Va. The company eventually became part of Tredegar Industries Inc.'s tooling group. A strike involving 100 production workers took place at the plant in 1977 when it was on Pecks Road.

When Richmond, Va.-based Tredegar announced in 1992 that it planned to either sell or close the Pittsfield plant, employees arranged a buyout. The company was owned by its employees until the merger with Curtil.

The company's biggest customers before the merger were in the packaging closure business, and Marland developed a thin-wall bottle program that brought in global business, according to Plastics News. Half of the company's sales came from shipping molds to China, Brazil, Australia and Europe. Marland had its best sales year ever in 2009 while the economy was mired in the Great Recession. The merger was expected to provide greater access to Marland customers that were already in Europe.

Curtil SA was founded in 1929 to make machining tools for the diamond industry. It expanded into injection mold making in 1963.

Business Editor Tony Dobrowolski can be reached at 413-496-6224.



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