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Plastech Engineered Products Inc. of St. Clair Shores, Mich., has completed its acquisition of United Screw & Bolt Corp. of North Olmsted, Ohio, to become one of the country's largest minority-owned automotive suppliers.

Plastech signed a letter of intent Jan. 27 to buy United Screw, the parent company of Bryan Custom Plastics of Bryan, Ohio, for $128 million.

With the acquisition, Plastech projects sales of more than $310 million in 1997. Before the buyout, the Michigan injection molder had estimated 1997 sales of $150 million. United Screw had 1996 sales of $129 million. Combined, the companies employ almost 2,000.

The buyout makes Plastech a major supplier to Ford Motor Co. of interior and exterior components. Plastech molds small interior parts and metal bumper systems, while Bryan, which was named Plastic News' 1996 Processor of the Year, is a supplier of interior hard trim, such as door panels.

The companies also ship parts to other U.S. Big Three automakers and Tier 1 suppliers.

United Screw has plastic parts plants in Bryan and Wauseon, Ohio, and Kenton, Tenn., and two other metal stamping plants. Plastech operates plastic molding facilities in St. Clair Shores, Caro, Grandville and Kentwood, Mich., and a metal stamping plant in Strongsville, Ohio.

United Screw operates 57 presses with clamping forces as great as 5,000 tons, according to Plastics News estimates. The number of Plastech presses was unavailable, but the presses have clamping forces as great as 2,000 tons.

The acquisition creates one of the nation's largest minority-owned suppliers. Plastech is owned by Julie N. Brown, a Vietnamese native who bought the company in 1988 from Caro Plastics Corp. of Caro.

Ford was instrumental in bringing the two companies together, according to a Plastech news release. The company also is the first Ford supplier to use the automaker's Interest Rate Subvention program, a plan that will help Plastech pay the acquisition loan interest amount over time, the release said. Plastech officials would not elaborate.

Ford has expressed interest in doing more business with minority suppliers. In a speech to the Michigan Minority Business Development Council in October, Carlos Mazzorin, vice president of purchasing, said Ford wants to increase its minority parts sourcing to $2.5 billion, from $1.8 billion, by 2000.

Plastech plans to move its headquarters to Dearborn, Mich., which is Ford's home base. A timetable for the move has not been announced.