LONDON — British baby products firm Mayborn Group plc is extending its range with the purchase for £16 million ($26 million) of diaper disposal system producer Process Improvements Ltd. and its injection molder Niche Plastics Ltd.
London-based Mayborn, which molds a variety of plastic bowls, bottles, cups, plates, gifts and hair-care items for babies under the names ``Tommee Tippee'' and ``Maws'' at plants in Britain and China, plans to consolidate the two acquired firms at one site.
Process Improvements of Camberley, England, manufactures the Sangenic system. This consists of a plastic container, similar in size to a kitchen pedal waste bin, which holds a rigid plastic cassette containing scented, layered tubular film.
The system allows the user to encapsulate soiled diapers and other waste in individual scented film parcels for disposal in the bin. Each bin incorporates a twist cap and tamperproof lid, and can hold 18 diapers, according to Mayborn.
Process turned out about 120,000 containers and 1.3 million cassettes during the course of last year — representing only 20 percent of the firm's capacity, said Mayborn's company secretary, Ian Hartley.
About two-thirds of Sangenic sales are exported, chiefly to Japan, but also to Belgium, France and Switzerland. Mayborn will not acquire the manufacturing or sales rights for the United States, Canada or Mexico, where Sangenic is produced and sold under a separate, exclusive license.
Niche Plastics, formed in 1995 primarily to supply Process, has an injection molding plant in Mansfield, England. It molds rigid parts for Sangenic systems, operating six Toshiba presses with 30-400 tons of clamping force.
Mayborn, which also manufactures fabric dyes and florists' sundries, will pay £15 million ($24.4 million) for Process, either in cash or partly in new Mayborn shares. It has agreed to pay as much as £945,000 ($1.54 million) for Niche Plastics.
The two acquisitions are just the latest for Mayborn, which has bought five other businesses since 1993, two of them plastics-related.
While Process recorded profit of almost £1 million ($1.6 million) on sales of £3.64 million ($5.93 million) for the 1996 calendar year, Niche lost £739,000 ($1.2 million) on sales of £975,000 ($1.6 million) for the 18-month period ended in March.
Mayborn said Niche received far-lower-than-expected component orders from Process, partially because Process products were insufficiently marketed. The loss also followed heavy start-up costs for machinery and materials-handling systems, and Niche is producing well below its capacity, the London company added.
Mayborn plans to close the Process product assembly plant at Camberley, idling 19 workers and relocate the Sangenic operation and those jobs at Niche's Mansfield molding plant. Niche will become sole supplier of plastic parts for Sangenic.
``Niche will also benefit from the anticipated increase in volumes. ... [Mayborn's] directors are confident that there will be cost-reduction opportunities that can be realized by combining the businesses,'' Mayborn said in a news release.
Mayborn's baby products division has two United Kingdom plants, one molding plastics parts at Cramlington, England, with 15 injection presses and two blow molding machines, and the other at Stevenage, England, making rubber and latex items.
In 1995, the group established a molding plant at Dongguang, China, ``to take advantage of cheaper costs'' and boost sales in the Far East and Pacific markets.
Last year, that plant was doubled in size to 60,000 square feet, with extra injection and blow molding machines at a cost of about $1.6 million, according to Hartley.