If plans jell, Oneida Rostone Corp. will spend $3.5 million to acquire 95.5 percent of Data Packaging Ltd., a profitable injection molding outfit in Mullingar, Ireland, giving the U.S. firm its first European plastics plant. The purchase is one more indication that Oneida Rostone's public parent, Houston-based Reunion Industries Inc., is building its core business with plastics. As soon as next month Reunion could announce yet one more plastics holding, if it fine-tunes another, undisclosed deal to fruition, said Dave Harrington, Oneida Rostone's chief executive and president.
In April a name change from Reunion Resources to Reunion Industries signaled a directional shift. A month later the firm unloaded oil and gas assets for $10.2 million, using about $5.1 million to pay off debt related to the acquisition last fall of Oneida Molded Plastics Corp. of Oneida, N.Y. - its first plastics buy. In the interim Reunion has gathered more plastics companies into the fold, adding capabilities, capacity, geography and market share in molded plastic components for business machines and computers, among other industries.
Last week Oneida Rostone announced it paid $700,000 to buy a 27.5 percent interest in DPL from Allied Irish Banking, a venture capital firm in Dublin, Ireland. By year-end Oneida Rostone plans to buy another 68 percent of DPL from Texon Energy Corp., giving it the lion's share of the Irish firm and a manufacturing foothold overseas, Harrington said.
``I feel we need to be international,'' he said, noting that Oneida already ships plastics product all over the world.
On sales of $15.1 million for the fiscal year ended April 30, DPL had operating profit of $900,000. The firm employs about 165, and operates 32 presses, with clamping forces of 25-750 tons, at its 53,000-square-foot plant in Mul-lingar.
Stockholders approved the buy Oct. 21, though details of financing Texon's 68 percent still are being worked out. A ``potpourri of various stockholders'' owns the remaining 4.5 percent, he said.
If all pending deals fly, Oneida Rostone's plastics sales should be in the $100 million range next year, he said.
For Reunion, which is 38 percent owned by Chatwins Group Inc., DPL will be its third Chat-wins-related buy in a year. Reunion picked up its first plastics holding, Oneida, from Chatwins in September 1995. In February, Oneida bought thermoset molder Rostone Corp. of Lafayette, Ind., from CGI Investment Group - itself 49 percent owned by Chatwins.
In the DPL deal, majority owner Texon, like CGI, is owned in part by Charles E. Bradley Sr., the principal investor in Pittsburgh-based Chatwins. Last year, metal businesses made up 85 percent of Chatwins' sales.
Outside the Chatwins fold, Oneida Rostone last month announced plans to buy Quality Molded Products Inc., an injection molder in Siler City, N.C. Expecting to complete terms soon, Harrington would not divulge much about QMP. The company molds parts for business machines, lawn and garden appliances and other consumer products, and employs about 170 at its 125,000-square-foot plant in Siler City - roughly an hour's drive from Oneida's injection molding plant in Clayton, N.C.
Meanwhile, Oneida Rostone has a keen eye on its future. DPL is gearing up for new business opportunities at its Mullingar plant, where a 25,000-square-foot addition, now under way, will be completed by mid-1997, Harrington said. Like Oneida and QMP, the Irish company injection molds, decorates and assembles housings, keyboards and other parts for manufacturers of computers and business machines in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and Malaysia.
``I still plan acquisitions in '97,'' he said. ``We're continuing to expand our presence, both U.S. and foreign-based ... both thermosets and thermoplastics. We're getting the diversification that is part of our strategy.''
That strategy also has involved beefing up capacity at Oneida Rostone plants to the tune of $3 million, including six Van Dorn and three Krauss-Maffei presses. The company also owns two mold-making shops - Three Rivers Tool Co. in Phoenix, N.Y., and Midlantic Tool of Clayton, which together do 15-20 percent of its in-house tooling, but function mainly as stand-alone operations.