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Niigon to close amid Schad, Husky legal wrangle

Niigon Technologies Ltd., a custom molding venture on a First Nation reserve near Georgian Bay, Ont., is slated to be closed this week as a legal battle develops between plastics pioneer Robert Schad and his former company Husky Injection...


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August 7, 2013 by Canadian Plastics

Niigon Technologies Ltd., a custom molding venture on a First Nation reserve near Georgian Bay, Ont., is slated to be closed this week as a legal battle develops between plastics pioneer Robert Schad and his former company Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.

MacTier, Ont.-based Niigon has been in business since 2001, molding a variety of parts for customers in Canada and the U.S. The 22 worker-strong company is one of the few manufacturing plants owned by aboriginals in Canada.

Schad was involved in Niigon’s creation. At its founding, and under Schad’s direction, the company was stocked with loaned or leased Husky machinery.

Schad sold Husky in 2007, and returned to the industry a few years ago as the founder of Vaughan, Ont.-based injection molding machinery supplier Athena Automation Ltd.  

According to an Aug. 6 online report in the Globe and Mail, Schad is charging that Husky told managers at Niigon that it was pulling out its injection molding machines, as the result of Schad’s Athena Automation venture and its Dec. 2012 partnership with Italian blow molding supplier Sipa SpA to make a system for molding and blowing PET performs.

“Husky is getting back at me,” the Globe report quotes Schad as saying.

According to the Globe, Husky filed a lawsuit in May against Schad, his Italian partner SIPA SpA, and other associates, seeking more than $100 million in damages for allegedly violating confidentiality agreements with the launch of their new venture. The claim alleges that Schad “improperly” used his position on Niigon’s board of directors to obtain confidential information about new Husky machine prototypes shared with the First Nation’s plant.

Schad and his partners have filed a counterclaim denying the allegations, the Globe said.

“Husky has provided significant financial and technical support to Niigon over many years and regrets that its relationship with Niigon has ended in these circumstances,” Husky vice-president and general counsel Michael McKendry told the Globe.