AKRON, OHIO — Next year's ranking of injection molders will reveal whether a Prince can threaten the reign of Textron Auto- motive Co. as the top company in Plastics News' survey. In July, Johnson Controls Inc. agreed to pay $1.35 billion in cash to acquire Prince Automotive, a supplier of interior components based in Holland, Mich. Prince had projected sales this year of $850 million. Prince supplies a variety of interior components, including headliners and overhead consoles, floor consoles, door panels, visors and armrests.
JCI's corporate sales totaled $8.3 billion, with its Automotive Systems Group of Plymouth, Mich., contributing $128.7 million for the year ended Sept. 30, 1995. Textron Automotive of Troy, Mich., reported sales of $1.4 billion.
Merger mania continued to sweep the global auto parts industry, where top-ranked injection molders strived to become sole-source suppliers.
Acquisitions and expansions during 1996 will affect several firms in Plastics News' annual sales-based ranking of North American custom injection molders. Below are other key transactions made since the ranking was published April 15.
Lear Corp. of Southfield, Mich., best exemplified the one-stop-shop trend in 1996. Lear, the No. 2 company on Plastics News' ranking, agreed to buy Masland Corp.'s outstanding shares for $384 million and assume Masland's $50 million debt. Masland is a maker of floor systems, which include carpeting, floor mats and other trim.
Lear also announced in October it will acquire Borealis Industrier AB, a maker of instrument panels based in Gothenburg, Sweden. Borealis expects sales of $260 million this year. Also, Lear said it would spend $300 million to build plants, upgrade equipment, and expand engineering and testing facilities.
Fifth-ranked Becker Group is building three interior components plants, one in St. Louis, another near Tuscaloosa, Ala., and one near Puebla, Mexico. Becker, based in Warren, Mich., formed a joint venture last spring with EASi Engineering of Bingham Farms, Mich., to expand its ability to create computer simulations of automotive interiors and parts.
Magna International Inc. completed its offer Oct. 3 for shares of auto seating system and parts supplier Douglas & Lomason Co. of Farmington Hills, Mich. Magna of Markham, Ontario, agreed to pay about $135 million in cash.
Ventra Group Inc. of Cambridge, Ontario, made a C$38 million offer to buy Tarxien Corp. of Ajax, Ontario, in October. If approved, Ventra's sales would climb to US$120 million.
Lacks Enterprises Inc. a Grand Rapids, Mich., supplier of exterior automotive trim, is investing $40 million for new assembly and distribution facilities, and a corporate engineering center.
Berry Plastics Corp. is closing its Winchester, Va., plant and investing $3.5 million to expand two other plants. Berry molds containers for food and dairy.
Vacuum former and injection molder Poly Vac Inc. of Manchester, N.H., will merge with surgical instrument maker Othy Inc. of Warsaw, Ind., to form Othex Holding Co., a $70 million medical and surgical supply business.
Lescoa Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich., acquired the automotive electroforming division of Stimsonite Corp. for undisclosed terms in September. Stimsonite is based in Niles, Ill. Lescoa reported sales of $160 million last year.
In October, JPE Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich., agreed to acquire Pebra Inc. for about C$30 million. Pebra, an auto parts injection molder and painter, was 79th on Plastic News' ranking with sales of $57 million. It has plants in Peterborough and Kitchener, Ontario.
Cambridge Industries Inc. of Madison Heights, Mich., purchased Production Moldong Co., also of Madison Heights. PMC, a unit of APX International of Madison Heights, has 100 employees and reported $13 million in sales last year.
Key Plastics INc. announced in November it purchased the assets of Automatic Technologies Inc. in South Bend, Ind. Automatic, a custom injection molder, had closed a month before Key's purchase. Key, of Novi, Mich., had sales of $185 million last year. Automatic had estimated sales of $27 million.
Bennet Industries Inc. of Peotone, Ill., was bought in June by Southcorp Holdings Ltd. of Australia and merged with Southcorp's Atlanta-based North American Packaging Corp. Southcorp paid about US$50 million. Bennet employs about 500, operates five rigid plastics plants and has annual sales of US$80 million.
Bailey Corp. of Seabrook, N.H., approved an acquisition plan of Venture Holdings Trust, the parent company of Automotive molder Venture Industries Corp. Bailey's board of directors accepted a $59 million offer in June. Venture also completed a takeover of financially strapped AutoStyle Plastics INc. in a Grand Rapids, Mich., bankruptcy court.
Also, three top executives of SPM Inc. in Anaheim, Calif., resigned in October. Resigning were Mike Noggle, president; Larry Noggle, executive vice president; and Charles Finkbiner, senior president of business development. A difference over management strategy is cited for their departure. SPM is a subsidiary of Dynacast International Ltd.