Custom injection molder Moll Plasticrafters L.P. diversified into blow molding, bulk packaging containers and proprietary consumer products with the Dec. 13 purchase of Lawson Mardon Reliance in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Reliance's biggest business is molding bulk and industrial containers. It also makes consumer containers for detergents and other products, and a range of camping equipment and consumer goods under the Reliance tradename. It has 17 blow molding machines and 17 injection presses. Officials did not reveal Reliance's sales or terms of the deal.
Moll, based in La Vergne, Tenn., had custom molding sales of $107 million in 1995, which placed it 29th in North America in Plastics News' most recent injection molders' survey. Moll has six plants in North America and ran 210 presses at the time of the survey.
George Votis, Moll's chairman and chief executive officer, said his firm plans to invest more than $1 million to upgrade Reliance's equipment and expand sales. Moll also is interested in acquisitions to boost its new stake in bulk packaging and consumer products, Votis said in a telephone interview.
Heading up this expansion strategy are Chuck Schiele, executive vice president of Moll and a former senior executive of Alcoa, and Richard Founds, a private entrepreneur. Votis said Moll is ``actively looking'' at acquisition opportunities but he would not disclose details.
Moll renamed the Winnipeg operation Reliance Products L.P. Reliance has three distribution centers in Canada and the United States and employs about 170. Officials expect it will benefit from access to Moll technology and purchasing power.
Reliance did not fit Lawson Mardon Packaging Inc.'s focus on packaging for personal-care products, pharmaceuticals, food, beverages and tobacco, said Ron Jamieson, manager of business analysis for Lawson Mardon in Mississauga, Ontario. He said the Reliance operation is profitable but had no synergy with any other Lawson Mardon business.
Lawson Mardon's parent company, Alusuisse-Lonza Group of Zurich, Switzerland, expanded its packaging business this year by purchasing Wheaton Inc., a Millville, N.J., producer of specialty plastic and glass packaging. Jamieson said the purchase made Alusuisse-Lonza the largest pharmaceutical packaging supplier in the world.
Alusuisse-Lonza's other major plastics business in North America is Lawson Mardon Therma Plate Inc., which makes dual-ovenable PET frozen-food trays in Piscataway, N.J., and Atkins, Ark.
It is expanding markets for the trays to include modified atmosphere packaging and shelf-stable meals, according to Jamieson. Therma Plate fits an Alusuisse-Lonza business in Europe that mainly makes aluminum food trays.
Alusuisse-Lonza, a $6 billion per-year company, acquired Lawson Mardon early in 1994. Its other major businesses include chemicals and aluminum.