Automotive supplier Collins & Aikman Plastics Inc. has entered the European market by acquiring a British molder of interior trim parts.
The firm, Kigass Automotive Group LLC of Royal Leamington Spa, England, expands C&A's base in plastic trim, including injection molded parts for door panels, instrument panels and consoles. C&A Plastics, a Troy, Mich.-based division of interior systems supplier Collins & Aikman Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., did not announce terms.
Dennis Mahedy, C&A treasurer, said Kigass reported annual sales of about $50 million.
C&A Plastics, which also molds interior trim and climate control systems, is coming off a shake-up of its facilities and management. The firm absorbed operating losses of $39.8 million for the third quarter of last year, and has made changes in plant manufacturing systems and its executive team.
But late last year, C&A Plastics President D. Michael Weston said the division had put that behind it and is on a steep growth curve.
Kigass has plants in Warwick, Redditch, Sunderland and Royal Leamington Spa, England, and a separate design and engineering center in Royal Leamington Spa. Its six plants have 55 injection presses with clamping forces of 50-500 tons in a total of 225,000 square feet of space. The molder supplies carmakers doing business in Europe, including Ford, Honda, Rover, Jaguar and Nissan.
Thomas Hannah, Collins & Aikman's chief executive officer, said in a news release that the move will expand the company's international presence significantly.
``With more auto manufacturers requiring complete interior systems and engineering support on a global basis, this purchase helps us reach the European market for interior plastic systems,'' Hannah said.
With no European operations of its own, C&A has nine plastics plants in North America: Troy, Manchester, Homer, St. Joseph and Williamston, Mich.; and in Gananoque, Scarborough, Stratford and Mississauga, Ontario. The Mississauga plant recently added about 40 injection presses.
C&A Plastics, which employs about 3,000, placed 18th in Plastics News' ranking of North American injection molders, with 1996 sales of $187.1 million. Collins & Aikman picked up the plastics firm — then Manchester Plastics Inc. — in 1995, as part of the acquisition of its parent, Troy-based Larizza Industries Inc.
Plastics News correspondent Michael Lauzon contributed to this story.