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Penda Form expanding in Indiana

By: Catherine Kavanaugh

February 19, 2014

Penda Form Co., which merged its way last year into the Top 10 in sales among thermoformers in North America, is growing again — but this time more organically.

The New Concord, Ohio-based company plans to build an addition, buy new equipment and double the workforce at an Indiana plant that makes truck bed liners.

Up to $4 million will be invested into the expansion at the factory in Bluffton, which now employs about 50 workers for integrated extrusion, single- and twin-sheet thermoforming, robotics trimming and assembly.

In addition to manufacturing, the 86,000-square foot facility has warehouse space and offices, a company website says.

With sales of about $185 million, Penda Form ranks 10th among North American thermoformers, according to the latest Plastics News rankings. The company shares the spot with Georgia Pacific LLC, which has estimated sales of $185 million.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. and Bluffton city officials worked together to come with an incentive package for Penda Form that would help retain and create jobs. The company will receive $160,000 in conditional tax credits, up to $35,000 in training grants, and a city tax abatement that will save the company up to $250,000 over 10 years, The Journal Gazette newspaper reports. The city also will make about $150,000 of utility and street improvements by the facility at 130 Harvest Road.

Two other Penda Form plants have or will be shuttered. A 60-year-old plant in Pekin, Ind., was schedule to stop production at the beginning of the year, putting 37 employees out of work and leaving the town without its biggest utility customer. And, a 70-year-old plant in Byesville, Ohio, will stop operating on or near March 31. Forty-two workers got pink slipped, including 18 extruder operators.

Penda Form was created last July when Penda Corp., a Tier 1 auto supplier, merged with Fabri-Form Co., which serves the automotive, grocery and heavy truck end markets with material handling, packaging and engineered components.