Plastics Cos. Enterprises Inc. has added injection molder Heinke Technology Inc. to its assemblage of plastics concerns, bringing the group's sales to $7 million this year. Plastics Cos. bought Heinke of Lincoln, Neb., April 15 for undisclosed terms. Sam Featherston is at the helm of that Texas-based holding company, and, by his own account, its largest investor ``by far.'' The firm also owns Apex Plastics Inc., a blow molder based in Brookfield, Mo., which it acquired in July 1993.
In February 1993, Featherston organized the investors and incorporated Plastics Cos. in Austin, Texas, where he was living at the time. His goal: to create a diversified group of plastics processing firms.
Apex was the company's first buy, Heinke its second. By late next year Featherston hopes to bring another plastics firm into the fold.
At its Lincoln plant, Heinke operates 15 injection molding machines, with clamping forces of 40-400 tons. It employs about 75. In a Class 10,000 clean-room area it custom molds pharmaceutical products for companies such as Upjohn Co., based in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Heinke recently has auto-mated its clean-room assembly operation, bringing it up to speed with molding capacity there, Featherston said July 10 by telephone from Lincoln.
For several years, the 10-year-old molder has grown considerably - 40 percent in sales between 1993 and 1994, according to company-provided data. Featherston, who plans to increase the custom business, said he expects annual growth to continue at a rate of at least 20 percent. Last year's sales were about $3.2 million; this year he expects them to reach $4.5 million.
Although pharmaceutical products make up the bulk of its business, Heinke molds for a number of markets, including animal health, food service, sports and aerospace. One job is high-pressure fuel tanks for Lincoln Composites.
Heinke also provides part and mold design.
Plastics Cos. bought Heinke from founder Richard Heinke, who will act as a consultant to the firm. Despite the change of hands, it is ``business as usual,'' Featherston said.
When acquired by Plastics Cos., Apex operated a 20,000-square-foot plant in Brookfield. Since then it has set up a second, leased facility, in Taylor, Texas, to serve the Texas market, Featherston said. Apex runs 11 Hayssen blow molding machines in Brookfield and two in Taylor. The Taylor plant is large enough to accommodate four to five machines, which Apex will add within the next 18 months, he said.
In 1994 Apex had sales of $2 million; Featherston projects $2.5 million for 1995.
The company blow molds a range of mostly polyethylene containers, including for motor oil and household cleaners, as well as veterinary, food and personal-care products, such as hand lotion. It sells them through distributors.
Apex will continue to add plants, expanding into other regional markets, Featherston said. The company is headed by President Marvin Ellington.
Featherston, as chief executive officer of Plastics Cos., oversees both plastics firms, which operate as wholly owned subsidiaries with separate management teams. He also is president of Heinke.
His 26-year career in plastics includes stints with a number of firms, including Ball Corp., Continental Can Co. Inc., Fabri-Kal Corp. and, most recently, thermoformer Alloyd Co. Inc. in De Kalb, Ill., where he was vice president of its blister packaging operations.
Together Apex and Heinke will record sales of about $7 million this year, a figure Featherston said he plans to double in the next 18 months, in part by acquiring a third firm. In the next five to 10 years, Featherston plans to bring a new company on board every 11/2 to two years.