By: Roger Renstrom
May 23, 2014
Flextronics International Ltd. is making a big move in injection tooling, both establishing a new operation in Illinois and possibly acquiring existing facilities in Arizona, Florida and Illinois.
The company declined to comment, but industry sources say the global contract manufacturer, as part of a possible grand strategy, has acquired Tech Mold Inc. of Tempe, Ariz., and may be pursuing American Tool & Mold Inc. of Clearwater, Fla., and Rexam plc’s Buffalo Grove, Ill., mold making facility, which incorporates advanced “mega cell” technology.
Singapore-based Flextronics also has been advertising for workers at a new injection molding and machining operation in Buffalo Grove, Ill.
Those inside or close to the Flextronics deals are restricted from discussing the projects and acquisitions.
In Arizona, innovative technology entrepreneur William Kushmaul has already sold Tech Mold to Flextronics, according to industry sources. At the time of the sale, the business employed 85 and occupied 34,000 square feet in two buildings that Kushmaul continues to own.
Kushmaul retired Nov. 20 on his 75th birthday after 43 years in the mold making business.
Flextronics established a Maryland corporation for ownership of the Tech Mold business.
In Florida, Emilia Loulourgas Giannakopoulos heads family-owned American Tool & Mold as CEO. The firm employs more than 140 and specializes in manufacturing complex high-precision multi-cavity molds.
In Buffalo Grove, the village signed off May 22 on Flextronics’ initial tenant use form for a massive plant with rail siding access and at least 20 large resin silos. For physical changes to the complex, Flextronics will need to comply zoning requirements of the industrial use district.
The complete manufacturing campus involved in the deal grew under the ownership of Courtesy Corp., which went through a bankruptcy auction in 2002. Precise Technology Inc. of North Versailles, Pa., became the operator until London-based Rexam acquired Precise in November 2005.
In a deal that is still pending, Berry Plastics Group Inc. of Evansville, Ind., agreed in March to buy the containers and closures division of Rexam’s health care operation for $135 million. Sources say Flextronics sought that operation, and disposition of the existing Buffalo Grove mold making capabilities may be a subject of discussion between Berry and Flextronics. Rexam's mold making operation is in one part of the larger manufacturing campus.
Flextronics operates largely through a U.S. administrative headquarters in San Jose, Calif., and has demonstrated an enormous appetite for acquisitions — particularly in China — since it was founded in May 1990.
Nasdaq-traded Flextronics reported profit from continuing operations of $556 million on sales of $26.1 billion for the fiscal year ended March 31. Results from the 2013 fiscal year had profit from continuing operations of $564 million on sales of $23.6 billion.
Flextronics delivers design, engineering, manufacturing and logistics services to original equipment manufacturers. These 10 customers, in alphabetical order, accounted for about 47 percent of Flextronics’ fiscal-2013 sales: Alcatel-Lucent SA, Apple Inc., Cisco Systems Inc., Telefonaktiebolaget L.M. Ericsson, Ford Motor Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Lenovo Group Ltd., Microsoft Corp. and Research In Motion Ltd., operating now as BlackBerry Ltd.
Flextronics says it operates in more than 30 countries and employs more than 200,000.