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MARCH 17 - 23, 2014

Anderson International is ‘buried’ with booming business By EDWARD NOGA Rubber & Plastics News

Anderson International Corp. executives knew an expansion of the company’s plant in Stow was inevitable when the machinery maker relocated there. They just didn’t know “inevitable� meant two years. Blame it on faster growth than expected by the manufacturer of dewatering and drying equipment for synthetic rubber producers. The company has gone to 130 employees from 50 since it moved from its Cleveland plant to Stow. “We’re buried,� said Lenny Trocano, president of the privately held company as he walked through the busy machine hall. The

building is packed with equipment and work in progress. Trocano and Paul Kohntopp, Anderson’s vice president and general manag- Trocano er, said they were aware the 78,200-square-foot building wasn’t perfect when the company acquired it in 2011. “We knew in our gut we should have bought bigger,� Kohntopp said. “This was smaller than what we came from,� an aging structure on Cleveland’s East Side, Kohntopp said. “But we are definitely more ef-

ficient here,� with a well-thoughtout floor layout, he said. The Stow site has an extensive system of overhead cranes, vital for a company that handles extremely heavy parts and equipment, Trocano said. And the steel structure includes an area that obviously could accommodate an expansion — a back wall that will be extended to accommodate another 24,000 square feet on the 10-acre site. Kohntopp termed the cost of the project “substantial.� The company will rearrange storage and open areas for machinery, including new equipment. The project, slated for completion this fall, also will add some offices.

Overseas focus Anderson has marched to the beat of a different drummer than much of U.S. manufacturing in multiple ways. For one, most of the company’s customers are overseas. Trocano said its export sales of equipment for synthetic rubber producers have climbed to 84% of total shipments from 70% five years ago. “I think that trend is going to continue,� he said. The rapid and enormous growth of the synthetic rubber industry abroad accounts for much of that business for Anderson, the executives said. Anderson’s customers are in 90 countries, including in


To all individuals and businesses that accept American Express cards: Notice of a class action settlement. Si desea recibir esta notiďŹ caciĂłn en espaĂąol, llĂĄmenos o visite nuestra pĂĄgina web. Notice of a class action settlement authorized by the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York.

Settlement Agreement by calling the toll-free number below.

This notice is authorized by the Court to inform you about an agreement to settle two class action lawsuits that may affect you. The cases - In re American Express Anti-Steering Rules Antitrust Litigation (II), No. 11-MD-2221 and Marcus Corp. v American Express Co. et al., 13-CV-07355 - are in the U.S. District for the Eastern District of New York. These cases allege that certain rules applicable to merchants that accept American Express cards violate antitrust laws and resulted in merchants paying excessive fees. The Court has not decided which side is right because the parties agreed to settle.

You do not need to ďŹ le a claim to receive the beneďŹ ts of the rule changes provided for by the settlement. If you want to seek monetary damages related to American Express’s existing merchant rules, you can pursue those claims consistent with the dispute resolution provisions contained in your card acceptance agreement. No money will be distributed to the class.

Who’s included? The settlement applies to a class comprised of all merchants that accept American Express cards at any location in the United States (including at a physical merchant location, online or via a mobile application) as of or after February 12, 2014, onward.

What are the Settlement terms? The settlement will require American Express to change its rules to allow merchants who accept American Express cards to charge customers an extra fee or “surchargeâ€? if they pay with an American Express credit or charge card under certain conditions including that any such surcharge apply to all credit and charge card transactions. The speciďŹ c rule changes and terms of the settlement are explained in detail in the court-approved, longform notice (“Noticeâ€?) and the Class Settlement Agreement, which are found at the case website ( You should review these documents carefully. Your legal rights are affected even if you do nothing. You can also obtain copies of the Notice and Class

Your options. You may object to the settlement by June 6, 2014. The Notice available at the case website explains how to object. Regardless of whether you object, if the settlement is ďŹ nally approved, you will be bound by the Court’s ďŹ nal judgment and the releases explained in the Class Settlement Agreement, which is available at the case website.

Court hearing about the Settlement. The Court will hold a hearing on September 17, 2014 to consider whether to approve the settlement and the request by the attorneys for the class for attorneys’ fees, expenses, and service awards up to a maximum total of $75 million. You do not need to appear at the hearing or hire your own attorney. But you can if you want to, at your own cost. The Court has appointed Friedman Law Group, LLP, Reinhardt, Wendorf & BlanchďŹ eld, and Patton Boggs LLP to represent the class.

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China, India, the Middle East and Russia. Those are the regions where new synthetic rubber capacity is coming online. In the United States, Anderson’s business typically is spare parts and some replacement of existing lines, Kohntopp said. Another characteristic of Anderson is that it “doesn’t do cheap,� Trocano said. “We don’t compete as the lowestcost supplier,� he said. ‘If you want the cheapest equipment, go elsewhere.� There are plenty of companies eager to produce equipment and parts such as Anderson’s. But when a client is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to establish a plant, it wants the real thing, he said. That’s why Anderson’s equipment is all over China. Trocano said Anderson doesn’t outsource its work, buys castings made in the United States, and, most importantly, builds entire finishing lines. “The engineering companies (that synthetic rubber producers hire) want a single source,� he said. Anderson has partners to provide automation, bailers, conveyors and other ancillaries. Because it does so much foreign business, Anderson is attuned to working with the Ex-Im Bank, the official U.S. export/import credit agency, and has contracts with firms that deal with certification throughout the world. Kohntopp said different regions have different requirements. In Europe, for example, the imported equipment needs the CE marking, indicating it meets European Union directives. “The differences in the requirements aren’t that great, but they all have their own tweaks,� he said.

Demand for full lines Trocano said Anderson had four or five engineers when he joined the company, before it made the push into providing finishing line packages. “Now we have 21, and that doesn’t include industrial engineers,� he said. “Selling complete finishing lines requires much more engineering, because you are dealing with bigger engineering companies that have all sorts of requirements.� Trocano said the relocation to a modern building in Stow helps in obtaining necessary staff. Kohntopp said while the company still can attract talent from Cleveland, the new location gives it more access to people experienced in CNC-based machinery. Anderson still has equipment operated manually by machinists, and such operators are difficult to find, Kohntopp said. Anderson’s capital investment is in CNC equipment, and the people to handle it. The machinery maker also has invested in sophisticated 3D software. Its engineers can provide a complete picture of a plant layout, enabling a client’s engineering contractors to know how the finishing line fits into the entire project. “I don’t think there are many competitors that can do that,� Trocano said. ■Noga is a contributing editor at Rubber & Plastics News, a sister publication of Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Crain's Cleveland Business  

March 17 - 23, 2014 issue

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