Moll Industries LP expanded its European custom injection molding business by acquiring Somomeca Industries of Chalon-sur-Saone, France.
Somomeca, with annual sales of $90 million to $100 million, has seven plants in France and one in Portugal, said George Votis, Moll Industries chairman and chief executive officer. About 80 percent of its business is custom molding; mold building accounts for the rest, Votis estimated by telephone.
The deal, announced Feb. 23, is Moll's second major foray into Europe. In August it established a European manufacturing presence when it bought Hanning Kunststoff, a Paderborn, Germany, custom injection molder with annual sales of about $50 million. European sales now represent more than half of Moll Industries' annual total exceeding $250 million.
Votis said the European thrust will help Moll of La Vergne, Tenn., become a global supplier as its diverse customers seek vendors able to serve their multinational manufacturing operations.
``Europe was the logical first step,'' Votis said.
Moll soon will look at expanding into Eastern Europe and South
America, and eventually it wants to own operations in Asia.
Moll, formerly called Moll Plasticrafters LP, got three former Hanning facilities, one each in Paderborn; Mitcheldean, England; and Rochester, N.Y. The facilities have a total of 72 presses with clamping forces of 20-1,500 tons. Through its Somomeca deal it acquired 108 presses of 60-2,500 tons. Votis said Moll has no plan to consolidate any European operations. Moll now operates 16 facilities in North America and Europe.
Votis said Somomeca and Hanning are diverse molders, as is Moll, and the acquisitions fit and enhance Moll's molding and engineering expertise. Somomeca's major markets include automotive and appliance. Moll's markets include major appliances, telecommunications, electronics and institutional products.
Votis said he has made no decision on how Somomeca ally Blue Water Plastics Inc. will fit in Moll's European plans. Somomeca is a partner in International Automotive Components SA, a sales and marketing firm set up in 1996 in Paris by Blue Water, Somomeca and auto parts molder Zanini Auto Grup of Barcelona, Spain. Blue Water set up the partnership to expand its European sales and to broaden its product offering in North America.
Votis said Blue Water of Marysville, Mich., is not a direct Moll competitor because Blue Water focuses on automotive molding. He is optimistic that Moll and Blue Water can work together.
Blue Water President and CEO Carl Haas said he plans to meet Moll officials regarding Somomeca's status and until then International Automotive ``is proceeding as before.''