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Manufacturers: Other News

CENTRAL TEXAS

Austin Foam Plastics Inc. (AFP), PFLUGERVILLE, provides protective packaging for retail and direct shipping customers. It offers polyethylene, polyurethane and expanded polystyrene foam products as well as corrugated boxes. AFP is expanding its Midwest presence with the acquisition of the protective packaging division of Springfield, Missouri-based Engineered Packaging Inc. (EPI). AFP will assume the protective packaging, distribution and returnable/consumable lines of business. EPI will continue to operate its temperature-controlled packaging division. AFP has five U.S. facilities: Pflugerville, Dallas and El Paso; Columbus, Ohio; and Nashville, Tennessee. www.a-f-p.com

Ten counties in Texas have purchased new voting systems since mid-December 2016, showing preference for centralized applications and user-friendly software that make poll workers’ jobs easier. The counties that bought AUSTIN-based Hart InterCivic‘s new version of Verity voting systems include Young, Eastland, Madison, Lubbock, San Patricio, Chambers, Medina, DeWitt, Hidalgo, and San Jacinto. The Texas Secretary of State’s office tested installation procedures, sample ballot scenarios, and accessibility. The Verity voting systems also received Federal certification by the Election Assistance Commission in May 2015. Verity practices a centralized approach to setting up and managing individual voting devices, unlike most direct-record electronic voting systems. A single console monitors and controls up to 12 terminals, which reduces the chance for error and cuts tasks for poll workers. In all, 3,100 machines have been shipped across Texas and the counties plan to use the devices during 2017 elections. www.hartintercivic.com

NEW BRAUNFELS-based TerraHydroChem, Inc. (THC) is an environmental products company that applies innovative chemistry to solve difficult industrial challenges. THC has secured a product distribution agreement with EMS Management, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Arrow Material Services headquartered in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. EMS, Denison, provides environmental, fixed and mobile cleaning services to customers in the transportation and manufacturing sectors. The company maintains rail car cleaning operations in Houston, San Antonio and East Camden, Arkansas, and at terminals operated by Arrow Material Services. THC officials said the agreement also grants EMS exclusive distribution rights to the North America rail car industry for THC’s special products formulated specifically for the rail car industry including Rail Car Cleans™ (RCC), a blend of organic derivatives that desorbs surface contaminates, Rail Car Solvent™ (RCS-100) and multiple other customized products. TerraHydroChem’s products are blended with plant-based constituents, making them safe, non-toxic and bio-degradable. www.terrahydrochem.com ; www.emsmanagement.com

UPDATE: Western Refining Inc., El Paso, and SAN ANTONIO-based Tesoro Corp. shareholders have approved Tesoro’s previously announced plan to acquire Western in a deal valued at more than $6 billion. The proposed merger, which was approved by both companies at special stockholders’ meetings on March 24, 2017, remains on schedule to close during the first half of 2017, pending satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions. Shareholder approvals follow a late-2016 agreement between the companies under which Tesoro agreed to purchase Western. www.tsocorp.com ; www.wnr.vom

NORTH TEXAS

Stemco Air Springs has completed construction of its new state-of-the-art research and development center in Fairlawn, Ohio, to bolster the firm's technologies for the commercial vehicle market. A business within the Stemco Division of LONGVIEW-headquartered EnPro Industries Inc., the air springs firm said the 20,000-square-foot facility will be the world's most advanced laboratory built to design and test advances in materials, designs and technology for commercial vehicle air springs. It was built specifically for the R&D operation and houses 22 employees. The Stemco Division of EnPro has offices and production plants in Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Canada, Australia, China and Mexico that manufacture commercial vehicle wheel end, braking and suspension components. It also develops solutions for tire and mileage problems. EnPro manufactures sealing products, metal polymer and filament wound bearings, components for reciprocating compressors, diesel and dual fuel engines, and other engineered goods used in critical applications by industries globally. www.enproindustries.com ; www.stemco.com

Lockheed Martin is expanding its F-35 production at its FORT WORTH plant. Therefore, production of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Fighting Falcon is being shifted from Fort Worth to Greenville, South Carolina. Lockheed said it will begin moving the F-16 production line by the end of 2017 after delivering the last of the jets to Iraq in September 2017. The move will create about 250 jobs in Greenville. F-35 stealth fighter production will max out the capacity of Lockheed Martin’s mile-long assembly line in Fort Worth. Slightly over 200 people work on the F-16 in Fort Worth, and those workers will be offered positions assembling the F-35. Currently, about 8,800 employees work on the F-35, with 1,800 additional employees expected to be added through 2020. In 2016, Lockheed built about 50 F-35s and the company expects to build more than 150 a year by 2019. In other news, Lockheed announced that it will expand into a new facility at its Johnstown, Pennsylvania, location to produce F-35 components. The expansion will create 40 new jobs at the central Pennsylvania plant by 2018. Lockheed Martin AeroParts in Johnstown specializes in manufacturing and assembly of aircraft components for a number of aircraft built by the company. Lockheed is completing its plan to lease and equip an additional facility to accommodate the new work in Pennsylvania. It hopes to begin producing a subset of parts by the fourth quarter of 2017, which will be sent to Fort Worth for final assembly. www.lockheedmartin.com

Nucor Corp., which owns a steel mill in South LONGVIEW, will spend $85 million to upgrade a rebar mill it owns in Marion, Ohio, in a two-year project that could add 15 jobs. The mill is one of the oldest in Nucor's fleet. The company acquired it in 2005 for $110 million. Nucor received incentives from the state of Ohio and local governments for the project. The plant employs 265 workers. In July 2016, Nucor acquired the Longview mill for $29 million from Joy Global Inc. www.nucor.com

Solvit Products, ARLINGTON, specializes in highly functional, easy-to-use products for travel (dog car seat covers, dog safety harnesses and more), active life (bicycle trailers and bicycle baskets), and therapeutic and senior care (walking and lifting aids, pet stairs, pet ramps and more). Solvit has been acquired by Radio Systems Corp. of Knoxville, Tennessee. www.solvitproducts.com

SOUTH TEXAS

Winona, Minnesota-based Fastenal has signed an agreement to acquire assets of Manufacturer's Supply Company (Mansco), based in Hudsonville, Michigan. The deal, expected to close by the end of March 2017, builds a market presence for Fastenal with commercial furniture OEMs, while providing Mansco with additional tools with which to serve its customer base. Mansco also has locations in Madison, Alabama, and at 4316 W. Military Highway in MCALLEN, expanding Fastenal's geographic footprint in those regions. Mansco focuses on fastener products, with a particularly strong market position with commercial furniture OEMs. www.mansply.net ; www.fastenal.com

The South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind in CORPUS CHRISTI acquired Corpus Christi Distributors (CCD), which is now a subsidiary of the organization. The acquisition will create more job opportunities for those who are blind, not just in South Texas, but everywhere the distributor operates. The company supplies hardware, janitorial and sanitary products, and plumbing, electrical, painting, and lawn and garden supplies. The South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind operates a factory to employ blind and visually impaired people in Corpus Christi. The Lighthouse has a little over 100 employees and with CCD we'll be able to have 100 more. Lighthouse, located on Leopard Street, produces sea-dye markers, helmet pads, portfolio cases, postal trays, three-ring binders, mouse pads and candles. The Lighthouse manufactures products for the U.S. Government, including three-ring binders, computer mouse pads and wrist pads, index tabs, candles, mail trays for the U.S. Postal Service and flyers gloves for the military. The Lighthouse also operates service stores at the military bases in Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Mississippi and California. www.stlb.net

SOUTHEAST TEXAS

HOUSTON-based Cheniere Energy Inc. has gathered the agreements from potential shippers it needs to support taking the next steps on its Midship Pipeline project. The 200-mile-long Midship Pipeline would draw natural gas out of production areas in the SCOOP and STACK plays in Oklahoma and into U.S. Gulf Coast markets. Currently, its expected maximum capacity would be 1.4 million dekatherms per day. SCOOP stands for “South Central Oklahoma Oil Province,” while STACK represents the “Sooner Trend (oil field), Anadarko (basin), Canadian and Kingfisher (counties)" area. The next step will be to file for regulatory approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. www.cheniere.com

HOUSTON-based Enterprise Products Partners will buy the natural gas pipeline assets of the bankrupt Azure Midstream with a bid of $189 million. The addition of Azure gives Enterprise an expanded presence in East Texas and northern Louisiana with 960 miles of natural gas gathering pipelines, three processing facilities, and two natural gas liquids pipelines that can each ship 10,000 barrels daily. Enterprise said the deal could be finalized as soon as April 2017. www.enterpriseproducts.com

IES Infrastructure Solutions LLC is a HOUSTON-based company that provides electromechanical services for various industries. IES has purchased Freeman Enclosure Systems LLC, a Cincinnati-based firm that makes custom generator hoods for data centers and large commercial and industrial facilities. The acquisition includes Freeman’s 143,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Freeman will continue to operate under its name, and it will be a subsidiary to IES Infrastructure Solutions. Freeman Enclosure Systems has more than 250 employees. www.iesinfrastructure.com

Cookware manufacturing company Tramontina USA Inc., SUGAR LAND, plans to enlarge its facilities in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Tramontina USA's subsidiary, Tramontina U.S. Cookware, acquired a 256,000-square-foot building adjacent to its current facility to increase its production and accommodate new products. The company is also building an 8,600-square-foot office and employee cafeteria. The construction also includes quality control and product labs, a showroom and a parking lot expansion. Construction is expected to be completed August 2017. Tramontina USA has a 2 million-square-foot Sugar Land campus that includes its corporate office, manufacturing and assembly lines, warehouses and two distribution centers. www.tramontina-usa.com

WEST TEXAS

Houston-based Marathon Oil Corp. plans to buy about 21,000 net surface acres in the PERMIAN BASIN from Fort Worth-based Black Mountain Oil & Gas LLC and other private sellers for $700 million in cash. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017. About 20,000 of the 21,000 acquired acres are in the northern Delaware Basin. The acquired acreage currently is producing about 400 barrels of oil equivalent per day. The Black Mountain deal comes less than two weeks after Marathon announced it would enter the Permian Basin with a $1.1 billion acquisition to buy 70,000 net acres from Midland, Texas-based BC Operating Inc. and other entities. Combined, the two deals give Marathon about 91,000 Permian acres, including about 71,500 in the northern Delaware. There’s one operated rig drilling on the property, and Marathon plans to add two more by midyear 2017. www.marathonoil.com

UPDATE: Western Refining Inc., EL PASO, and San Antonio-based Tesoro Corp. shareholders have approved Tesoro’s previously announced plan to acquire Western in a deal valued at more than $6 billion. The proposed merger, which was approved by both companies at special stockholders’ meetings on March 24, 2017, remains on schedule to close during the first half of 2017, pending satisfaction or waiver of customary closing conditions. Shareholder approvals follow a late-2016 agreement between the companies under which Tesoro agreed to purchase Western. Should the merger be completed, Tesoro will acquire the following assets from Western:

• A total of 254,000 b/sd (241,300 b/d) in refining combined refining capacity from Western’s three refineries, which include the 131,000-b/sd (124,450-b/cd) El Paso, Texas, refinery; the 25,000 b/sd (23,750 b/cd) refinery near Gallup, New Mexico; and the 98,000-b/sd (93,100-b/cd) St. Paul Park refinery.
• Access to price-advantaged crude feedstock in the Permian, San Juan, and Bakken basins as well as the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.
• Interest in Western Refining Logistics.

Following the merger, Tesoro would own ten refineries with a combined refining capacity of more than 1.1 million b/sd (1.05 million b/cd), as well as combined retail operations of more than 3,000 branded retail outlets operating under a variety of brands that, in addition to Tesoro-branded stations, will include ARCO, Shell, Exxon, Mobil, SuperAmerica, and Giant. www.tsocorp.com ; www.wnr.vom