Sony Magnetic Products Inc. wanted to exit the injection molding business but retain a supplier near its site in Dothan, Ala., so the company sold its 32-press injection molding plant there to Nypro Inc. Nypro will retain nearly all of the molding plant's 100 employees at the same pay they had received from Sony. Gordon Lankton, Nypro president and chief executive officer, said Sony will remain the plant's largest customer, but Nypro also will seek custom molding work in the region.
Nypro is leasing the 100,000-square-foot building from Sony, but the deal is not one of the joint venture-type agreements common at Nypro, according to of-ficials at both firms. Nypro bought the assets of the Sony plant, including the molding machines, mostly Sumitomos, with clamping forces of 100-350 tons. Nypro announced the purchase Oct. 30, but did not disclose terms of the deal.
By selling to Nypro, one of the largest custom injection molders in North America, Sony follows a trend of original equipment manufacturers turning over their molding to plastics specialists. The move lets Sony Magnetic Products focus on its core business of magnetic tape and floppy disks. The plant is next to Sony's main plant in Dothan.
Barry Singletary, president of Sony Magnetic Products, said that before talks with Nypro began, the future was in doubt for the plant, founded 16 years ago to injection mold parts for Betamax videotapes.
``We were facing the question of whether the operation would survive over the next year or so,'' Singletary said.
But he said Sony wanted a way to retain the skilled employees in Dothan. The plant is specialized, molding parts for Sony computer disks, data cartridges, video cartridges and videotape cassettes.
Singletary said he kept Sony's plastics employees informed about the deal.
Nypro, based in Clinton, Mass., ranks as the 11th-largest custom molder in North America, with 1994 sales of $197.6 million, according to Plastics News data. The company already runs 20 injection molding plants worldwide.
Singletary said that expertise will be good for the Do-than plastics operation.
``Nypro will bring new customers and new products into these facilities, resulting in increased production levels and greater economies of scale,'' he said.
Lankton said the companies began discussing the deal about six months ago.