NEWCOR BUYS AUTO PARTS MOLDER

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Newcor Inc. of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., boosted its automotive parts injection molding business with the Jan. 13 acquisition of Plastronics Plus Inc., a family-owned firm in East Troy, Wis.

Plastronics has 34 injection presses with clamping forces of 15-400 tons at two facilities in East Troy with 60,000 square feet of total space. Its current annual sales are about $16 million, mainly in under-the-hood parts for Tier 1 auto suppliers. Officials did not disclose terms of the all-cash deal.

The purchase ``will beef up our balance sheet and help us grow,'' said Chris Hubertz, Plastronics' president and one of several former shareholders. Newcor's capital will help Plastronics exploit its recently attained ISO 9001 and QS9000 quality ratings, he said in a telephone interview.

John Garber, Newcor chief financial officer, said Plastronics was the fourth plastics company that Newcor bought since it created its rubber and plastic group in late 1995. Other acquisitions were Boramco Industries of Walkerton, Ind., Rubright Industries of Auburn Hills, Mich., and Production Rubber Products of Livonia, Mich.

The Plastronics deal will boost

the group's annual sales to about $60 million. Newcor started the rubber and plastic group with Midwest Rubber Co. of Deckerville, Mich.

The Newcor group does rubber molding, plastic dip molding, slush casting, rotomolding and injection molding. Prior to the Plastronics deal, Newcor only had a handful of injection presses.

Garber said Plastronics will complement Newcor's services to Tier 1 and Tier 2 auto suppliers, especially in engineering and customer purchasing. He said Newcor has no plan to consolidate any of its recently bought operations, although it did close a Production Rubber Products facility in Kalamazoo, Mich., last year.

Garber said Newcor will consider other plastics acquisitions, but in the near term will focus on integrating current operations.

Garber said the newly bought business will retain the Plastronics name. Hubertz said he and other managers will continue with Plastronics, which was founded in 1985.

Newcor, a Nasdaq-traded company, sold its machine tool division last fall and plans to sell its Eonic division, which machines metal parts mainly for nonautomotive customers. Its other business makes automated welding systems.