A year after a management group bought General Industries Inc., renaming it G.I. Plastek Inc., the Ohio-based company is beefing up its factories with an infusion of $4.5 million from new investors and a bank line of credit. A management group acquired the company in mid-1995 from Industrial General Corp., a Delaware holding company that had owned the firm since 1985. The new owners have embarked on a five-year plan to spend $12 million in capital improvements, including new machinery and a new information management system. The goal is to hit $100 million in sales by the year 2000. Sales currently are $55 million.
``Its been a real fast-paced year,'' said Steve Trapp, vice president of sales and marketing.
G.I. Plastek does injection molding, decorating and assembly in Marysville, Ohio, injection molding in Bellville, Ohio, and reaction injection molding in Newburyport, Mass. Top executives are based in a small headquarters in Elyria, Ohio.
Jim Lynam, president and chief executive officer, said management owns 25 percent of the firm. The three outside investors now own 75 percent. Lynam identified the three as: Walter Beinecke Trust of Boston; George Gund Trust, represented by Graham Gund, an architect in Cambridge, Mass.; and W.P. Carey and Co., a real estate company in New York.
Included in the management ownership group are Lynam, Trapp and Chuck Lagasse, executive vice president and director of new business development. Lagasse is based at the RIM plant in Newburyport.
Lynam said the outside investors have pledged to kick in more money if necessary to help G.I. Plastek grow faster. They serve on the company's board of directors.
G.I. Plastek also has a greater ability to borrow money to fuel expansion, thanks to a $12.5 million credit agreement signed in mid-1996 with National Bank of Canada. The company has borrowed about $8 million, leaving another $4.5 million available, Lynam said.
Lynam also disclosed a new, $2 million line of credit from Japanese injection molding machine supplier Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, for the purchase of new machines.
The company also recently had a 750-ton HPM press refurbished by HPM Corp.'s Remanufacturing Division in Marion, Ohio.
General Industries has played a key role in the history of the plastics industry. In 1915, the company began compression molding Bakelite car horn buttons and shellac phonograph records in Elyria. In the 1930s, the company became one of the first U.S. injection molders. The firm diversified into RIM in 1983 by purchasing Plastek Corp. in Newburyport.
The company has had some customers for more than 50 years, such as Cleveland vacuum maker Kirby Co. and Ford Motor Co. Executives have spent much of the year since the acquisition visiting customers and explaining the new ownership.
``We wanted to make sure there was credibility out there in terms of the new capital plan,'' Trapp said.
A number of capital programs have been completed or are under way, including:
Spending $750,000 for a new information management system linking all three facilities. A team of 35 employees is working with the Cleveland firm of Deloitte & Touche to pick the best system. Officials hope to begin installing the new system in March. It will allow the company to swap drawings and technical information between plants, and with customers, as well as integrate order-entry and electronic data interchange.
In October, the firm added video conferencing equipment at Newburyport and Marysville.
Installing a new Conair automated resin conveying system at the Bellville molding plant, to replace resin loading out of gaylords.
Installing a closed-loop water cooling system and more computer-aided design and engineering equipment at Marysville. In mid-October, crews broke ground for a 9,000-square-foot office space addition. Trapp said the Marysville plant also has begun using gas-assisted injection molding, with a system from Gain Technologies Inc. of Sterling Heights, Mich. Company officials also want to use gas-assisted molding in Bellville.
At the Newburyport RIM plant, in-mold coating is being done with nickel-plated tooling. Lagasse said the firm continues to win business for large vehicles such as tractors and backhoes.
``The market for us in steel replacement has been very good,'' he said.
The plant will add RIM machines in late 1997 or 1998, he said.
G.I. Plastek also recently announced these personnel moves:
Darrel Hastings, a 15-year company veteran, was named director of operations management in Marysville.
Jim Smith, who has worked at the company since 1985, was promoted to project manager in Bellville.
MaryAnn Andrews was promoted to marketing services manager.
The company hired John Barrett as sales engineering manager, Kent Mills as director of materials for injection molding, Kraig Anderson as engineering manager in Bellville and Richard Reublinger as materials manager for RIM.