Uniroyal Engineered Products merges with UK's Wardle Storeys

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: March 14, 2013 3:30 pm ET
Updated: March 15, 2013 9:43 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Mergers & Acquisitions, Film & Sheet, Calendering

SARASOTA, FLA. -- The producer of the well-known Naugahyde vinyl-coated fabrics brand has merged with a British firm to expand its reach into Europe.

Uniroyal Engineered Products announced March 12 that it combined with Wardle Storeys Ltd. of Earby, England. Uniroyal Engineered is headquartered in Sarasota, Fla., and runs a manufacturing plant in Stoughton, Wis. Like Uniroyal Engineered, Wardle Storeys is a major producer of vinyl-coated fabrics.

The firms have diverse markets, the major ones including automotive, industrial, upholstery and healthcare.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition became effective March 4.

"There were two main reasons for the merger," said Uniroyal Engineered President Howard F. Curd in a telephone interview. "The geography is important to expand our footprint. Customers, especially in automotive, are getting more global."

The other main reason is that the firms' auto business, the biggest market for the combined companies, did not have much overlap.

"They sell to different OEMs and Tier 1 companies," Curd explained. "This is an opportunity to open up to new customers overseas."

The combined business has annual sales of more than $100 million, estimated Uniroyal Engineered vice president of human resources John Lynn in a telephone interview. It will be based in Sarasota but the companies will continue to operate under their established names to take advantage of the goodwill they have earned in their markets. There is no immediate plan to create a new name for the combined entity.

Uniroyal Engineered has had very limited business overseas, although brokers might have been selling its coated fabrics offshore.

Curd said he and private investors bought Uniroyal Engineered in 2003 with the legal assistance of Five Points Partners LLC of New York.

Uniroyal Engineered used to be part of Uniroyal Technology Corp., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2002. In 2003 Uniroyal Technology's businesses were split up with Curd and his partners getting the vinyl-coated fabric business.

The Uniroyal moniker dates to 1961 when the former United States Rubber Co. changed its name. Uniroyal, originally a tire company, diversified into specialty chemicals, vinyl fabrics, plastic sheet and specialty products. In 1990 French tire major Michelin bought the Uniroyal Tire business. In 2000, Spartech Corp. bought the sheet business comprising Royalite thermoplastic sheet and Polycast cell-cast acrylics.

The Naugahyde name derives from Naugatuck, Conn., where the vinyl-coated fabric was first made in 1936.

Uniroyal Engineered sells its industrial products under the Uniroyal Engineered Products name and its consumer-related products under the Naugahyde name.

Wardle Storeys' brand names include Amba vinyl-coated fabrics for the contract upholstery market and Velbex calendered vinyl sheet for medical, industrial, barrier, pond liner, decorative laminates and other markets.The company also has a components division that does vacuum forming, injection molding and urethane foam molding for automotive and other markets.

Calendered vinyl will be the biggest new business for Uniroyal Engineered in the merger, according to Curd.

"Uniroyal [Engineered] and Wardle Storeys have a long history of outstanding design and development capabilities and the technology exchange and the sharing of resources will expand our offerings to all our customers," Curd noted in a news release.

Wardle Storeys sells a range of vinyl-coated auto interior trim, including vacuum-formed components. Other markets for such products include marine, healthcare, child care and other transportation applications. Earby, in Lancashire County, is its only manufacturing plant. The firm was privately owned.

Wardle Storey referred questions about the deal to Uniroyal Engineered.

According to Hoover's, a Dun & Bradstreet company, Uniroyal Engineered's main competitors are specialty textile firm Hallwood Group Inc. of Dallas; producer of elastomer-coated and unsupported sheeting Trelleborg Coated Systems U.S. Inc. of Spartanburg, S.C.; and Eagle Ottawa LLC, an Auburn Hillls, Mich., supplier of leather and leather laminates for premium automotive interior trim.


Comments

Uniroyal Engineered Products merges with UK's Wardle Storeys

By Michael Lauzon
Correspondent

Published: March 14, 2013 3:30 pm ET
Updated: March 15, 2013 9:43 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

High pressure RTM systems moving from Europe to Mexico

November 20, 2014 4:24 pm ET

Engel Holding GmbH's subsidiary in Mexico says it has sold the first high pressure resin transfer machine system (HP-RTM) in the Americas to a...    More

Image

Thomson Plastics opens N.C. plant

November 20, 2014 3:12 pm ET

Custom injection molder Thomson Plastics Inc. has opened a new manufacturing facility in Lexington, N.C.    More

Image

PET film maker Evertis expanding production in Mexico, Brazil, Portugal

November 20, 2014 2:52 pm ET

Evertis, a PET film maker, is expanding production at plants in Mexico, Brazil and Portugal, the company said.    More

Image

Coveris changes culture, eyes IPO

November 20, 2014 1:40 pm ET

CEO Gary Masse has a simple message, and some new math, for everyone at Coveris Holdings Corp. Get on board or get out of the way.    More

Image

New York City officials avoid taking a stand on plastic bag fee

November 20, 2014 11:28 am ET

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration claimed Nov. 19 to be committed to dramatically reducing plastic bag consumption in New York City, but ...    More

Market Reports

Plastics in Brazil - State of the Industry Report

This in-depth report examines the Brazilian plastics industry from a historical and geographical context. Our analysts provide insight on economic trends and forecasts, growing manufacturing sectors that utilize plastics, private investment opportunities, market environment challenges, and innovations in R&D.

Data tables and charts on producer prices, trade, plastics production and end market indicators is also included.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Injection Molders Market Report & Ranking 2014

This special package contains our 132-page 2014 Market Report on the Injection Molding segment and our exclusive 2014 RANKINGS database of 500+ Injection Molders for a discounted package price.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events