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Unit Industries diversifies by buying EMS Sandburg

By: Roger Renstrom

March 1, 2013

FULLERTON, CALIF. -- In diversifying toward turnkey capability, Unit Industries Group Inc. of Fullerton acquired three entities operating as EMS Sandberg Industries.

"We want to become more diversified," said Anthony Codet, Unit's owner, president and CEO, said in an interview. "Previously, our market was limited to mold making and connectors and injection molding, but the market is shifting and wants turnkey packages in order to outsource a whole product from A to Z. We decided to go to the next level."

Identified together as EMS Sandberg, the acquired contract manufacturing operations employ more than 170 and include two businesses in Santa Ana, Calif. — Sandberg Industries Inc. and Sandberg International — and a wholly owned maquiladora in Tijuana, Mexico — Transmex Internacional SA.

"Combined, we have 1,300 customers," Codet said. "My strategy is to be able to cross-pollinate from plastics to connectors to electronics to the whole package."

The seller, John Sandberg, operated the business for 25 years and developed strong relationships with customers in the aerospace and defense industries. An existing Sandberg customer awarded a new $800,000 government contract to Unit as the first business development under the new ownership.

"We become attractive to aerospace," Codet said.

The Sandberg entities in Santa Ana occupy about 27,000 square feet and specialize in surface-mount-technology board assembly, wiring services and wire wrapping.

Transmex occupies about 35,000 square feet in Tijuana, has a 7,000-square-foot warehouse in San Diego and handles assemblies, subassemblies, harnesses and electrical tests with surface-mount and pin-through-hole technologies.

Codet and Sandberg completed their transaction Nov. 14. Terms were not disclosed.

In earlier Southern California deals, Codet acquired Unit Industries Inc. of Fullerton in May 2005, Superior Mold Co. of Ontario in September 2007 and Southern California Plastics Co. of Santa Ana in August 2010. Those businesses use thermoset, thermoplastic and liquid-silicone-rubber injection molding processes and make molds.

Now, operations of Unit Industries Group employ 360, with medical accounting for about 35 percent of the business and aerospace/defense for 30 percent. Codet projects 2013 group sales of $23 million to $27 million.