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Exo-s shifts operations to Indiana site

By: Michael Lauzon

October 11, 2013

A Canadian company plans to shuffle two of its plants in Michigan to a site in Howe, Ind.

Exo-s Inc., an injection and blow molder based in Sherbrooke, Quebec, will relocate operations from Three Rivers and Centreville to Indiana and begin production in Howe in early 2013. The move represents an investment of $6.8 million, according to a news release issued Oct. 9 by the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

“The move will allow Exo-s to accommodate planned expansion of operations to support increased customer demand,” said Todd Fowler, plant manager for Three Rivers, in a news release.

Exo-s supplies heating, venting and air conditioning ducts; engine covers; and related products to the automotive industry. It also runs plants in Coldwater, Mich., and Richmond, Quebec. It has a sales office in Troy, Mich.

Exo-s will occupy a 191,000-square-foot facility in Howe. The relocation will lower production costs and add space to accommodate future expansion. The firm now employs more than 200 in Three Rivers and Centreville and said it will boost staff levels to as high as 250 by 2016 in Howe. Exo-s will begin hiring machine operators, manufacturing staff and technical and engineering personnel early in 2014 to support the move.

Exo-s’ origins date to 1968, when transportation products conglomerate Bombardier Inc. of Montreal set up an injection molding operation in Richmond. In 1982 it combined some plastics and other operations to form Camoplast, which opened a blow molding plant in Kingsbury, Quebec, in 1992. Camoplast expanded to blow molding in Michigan with the acquisition of Crocker Ltd. In 2010 Camoplast bought Solideal and the combined business spun off Exo-s two years later as an injection and blow molder. Camoplast Solideal now focuses on off-road tires, vehicle tracks, vehicle undercarriage systems and other components for off-road equipment, agriculture and material handling.

Exo-s received a General Motors Supplier of the Year award in 2012. Other auto products it molds include coolant and washer reservoirs and air induction systems. Indiana hosts more than 630 automotive-related companies, according to government estimates.

Exo-s also custom molds for agricultural, all-terrain vehicle, toy and appliance markets. Its total employment exceeds 600. It is majority owned by venture capital firm Desjardins Group of Montreal with management also retaining interest.

“The Hoosier State’s sound stat sheet, business-friendly culture and hardworking workforce are just a few of our many compelling values for attracting new business,” stated Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in a news release.

Indiana Economic Development Corp. is offering to Exo-s US LLC up to $2.75 million in conditional tax credits and up to $225,000 in training grants, both based on job creation. LaGrange County, where Howe is based, will consider additional tax abatement.

Exo-s officials did not respond to requests for more details.