US acquisition helps German quick-connector firm go global

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: July 3, 2013 4:12 pm ET
Updated: July 3, 2013 4:17 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Automotive, Mergers & Acquisitions, Injection Molding

In 2010, Craig Assembly Inc. found itself in an enviable position. The maker of injection molded quick connectors had set itself on a path to produce specialized products, and made it through the automotive downturn in good shape.

In addition, Craig Assembly had been designated as a directed supplier by automakers — meaning that carmakers told their largest suppliers to buy parts from the St. Clair, Mich., company.

Its key customers were anxious to see Craig Assembly supply parts globally, which was the part of that directed-supplier distinction that proved to be difficult.

“They wanted us to be worldwide, but we didn’t have enough sales to justify investing in overseas production,” said Tom Geiser, plant manager for the company’s St. Clair operations.

So the company began looking at potential firms for a joint venture, which could help it access production without the overhead costs of expanding.

Rather than a joint venture, though, Norma Group AG — Craig Assembly’s biggest competition in Europe — proposed acquiring Craig and making it the hub of its needed U.S. expansion.

Norma, based in Maintal, Germany, had metal operations in Auburn Hills, Mich., and Saltsburg, Pa., and two sites in Mexico. But Norma eyed Craig Assembly, with 40 variations on quick connectors used in the cooling hose market, as a key to expansion.

The deal closed in early 2011, and now the St. Clair operation is expanding under the identity of Norma St. Clair as the sole U.S. home of plastics for Norma Group.

“There’s more business coming on, and we have another piece of equipment coming in by the end of this year and more products coming in that are currently outsourced,” said Geiser, plant manager of Norma St. Clair.

Geiser oversees two plants in St. Clair, the original Craig Assembly plant and the former Pine River Plastics facility next door, which the company purchased in 2012 to house Norma’s growth.

All of the equipment from the 55,000-square-foot Pine River facility had been sold in auction prior to Norma’s acquisition of the building, but it now houses 17 injection molding presses for Norma. The company is planning nearly $2 million in improvements for both sites this year and another $2.8 million in 2014, including investments in molding, assembly, laboratory testing and toolmaking equipment.

Norma St. Clair has 117 employees, and will add to that base as business continues to build.

The original Craig Assembly portfolio of products is now part of the lineup available throughout Norma’s other facilities glo¬bally. Norma has manufacturing in Europe, India and China in addition to North America.

Norma also is shifting new production to St. Clair for clamps and other components that Craig Assembly had not produced previously, which adds to the growth plan there, Geiser said.

 


Comments

US acquisition helps German quick-connector firm go global

By Rhoda Miel
News Editor

Published: July 3, 2013 4:12 pm ET
Updated: July 3, 2013 4:17 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Optical disc molder OEM getting into micromolding with acquisition of CDA

August 29, 2014 11:24 am ET

Optical disc replicator and molder Optical Experts Manufacturing Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., has expanded its core business and entered new high...    More

Image

Baxter investing $300 million to expand dialyzers production in Alabama

August 29, 2014 12:53 pm ET

Baxter International, Inc. is expanding its Opelika, Ala. manufacturing location to boost production of dialyzers, a key component of hemodialysis...    More

Image

Obituary: Jerry Williams, Prism Plastics co-owner

August 29, 2014 8:50 am ET

Williams founded Prism Plastics with Rod Bricker and Gerry Phillips, after the three left Huron Plastics Group in 1999.    More

Polish injection molder Teknorubber up for sale

August 29, 2014 9:14 am ET

Polish plastic parts maker Teknorubber has been put up for sale following its insolvency filing in March 2014. The company is to be auctioned through ...    More

Image

Concours adding equipment as mold making business booms in Mexico

August 28, 2014 2:05 pm ET

Concours Mold Inc. is heading for a 50 percent increase in sales in Mexico this year after a $4 million upgrade of its plant in Huejotzingo, in the st...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

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

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

More Events