A group of private investors has acquired thermoformer Industrial Custom Products Inc. of Mounds View, Minn. ENA Investors, a limited partnership in Indianapolis; Doug Stearley, also of Indianapolis; and Herb Houndt all own interests in the firm, which makes custom vacuum formed and die-cut components for original equipment manufacturers.
The firm's niche is vacuum forming thick-gauge, hard-to-handle parts and die cutting, Stearley said in a Feb. 15 telephone interview.
Stearley, who is ICP's new president and chief executive officer, would not disclose the purchase price. The acquisition was made Jan. 31.
Houndt was chief operating officer of the firm before the sale and will continue in that post. Stearley and Houndt are the only partners on-site in Mounds View.
At its 38,000-square-foot plant, ICP operates both rotary and sheet-fed vacuum formers and one small extruder, which it uses mainly for inside work. It employs 65.
The company's sales, which have grown 18 percent annually for the past three years, were less than $9 million in 1994, Stearley said. He said he hopes to boost that annual rate to 20 percent during the next few years and expects 1995 sales to exceed $10 million.
The company's key markets include recreational vehicles, electronics, displays and shipping containers. Most of its customers are in the Midwest.
Stearley said ICP's focus distinguishes it from other thermoformers, since the firm is notinterested in the high-volume business offered by food packaging or blister packs.
``And we want to become involved in the design stage of thick-gauge products,'' he said. ``It's hard to find people who are really good at that. We try to sell the whole service. We try to add all the value that we can.''
The 18-year-old firm has been ``very successful in the last three to four years, going from a small, entrepreneurial company to a midsized company,'' he said.
Stearley would not name ICP's former owners. Douglas Group, a St. Louis firm that intermediates for plastics firms, represented the sellers in the deal.
``Stearley's group won the day because of their enthusiasm about the focus on customer service [and] their eagerness to participate in all of the diverse markets of ICP,'' managing director Deborah Douglas said.
As for expansion plans, the new owners will invest in both employees and equipment, including a new rotary vacuum former, Stearley said.
``We are in the process of looking for a new facility in the Twin Cities area, and we hope to double our space by the end of the year,'' he said.