Fast-growing blow molder Pretium Packaging has purchased Illinois-based Robb Container Corp., a move that beefs up Pretium's presence in the upper Midwest and Northeast.
The June 16 acquisition of Robb's four blow molding facilities gives Pretium nine plants overall, and pushes the company's annual sales from about $70 million to a little more than $90 million, the St. Louis company said. Terms were not disclosed.
Keith Harbison, Pretium president and chief executive officer, said that adding Robb's facilities in Peru, Ill.; LeCenter, Minn.; and Omaha, Neb.; boosts its Mid-western presence. (Robb's fourth plant is in Nashua, N.H.)
Another key factor was Robb's offering of 300 stock bottles, triple what Pretium had, Harbison said.
Robb, headquartered in Naperville, Ill., had been putting significant capital into its plants in the past 18 months, but its sales had been fairly flat, at about $22 million a year, Harbison said.
``We like to grow our business internally by 10 percent a year,'' he said. ``I don't think that had been going on at Robb.
``I think they had put the infrastructure in and had not grown it to its full potential. That's one of the things we liked about the prospects of the business.''
Robb President George Faulstich said he sold the firm because the blow molding industry is consolidating and he did not want to seek outside capital to buy other companies or expand further.
``For us to do that, we would have had to bring in outside investors,'' he said. ``I didn't get into this because I wanted to work for someone else.''
Faulstich said he will remain as a consultant.
Robb recently completed a 50,000-square-foot expansion at its Peru plant, built a new plant in Minnesota and added 15 blow molding machines in the past several years, giving it about 50 machines. Pretium, by comparison, has about 80 machines in its five plants, in Easton, Pa.; Hermann, Mo.; Anaheim, Calif.; Seymour, Ind.; and Hazleton, Pa.
Robb has about $25 million in sales and is profitable, Faultich said.
Except for Faulstich, the rest of Robb's management team and plants will remain in place, although Pretium probably will add a general manager to oversee some of the smaller Midwestern plants, Harbison said.
``Our strategy is not based around eliminating costs, but providing better service to customers,'' he said, adding that Pretium expects to add equipment at Robb's plants.
Robb primarily makes high density polyethylene containers, and the two companies share common end markets, Faulstich said. Besides the geographic expansion, the deal also gives Pretium access to Robb's larger distributor network, Faulstich said.
Pretium is looking for additional acquisitions, and remains focused on personal-care, household, industrial and agricultural chemicals, food and health-care markets, Harbison said.
The company is in final negotiations for some of the assets of another Midwest molder, and is looking at opportunities in the Southeast, Texas and the Pacific Northwest, he said.
Pretium purchased Pocono P.E.T. Inc. in January, adding its Hazleton plant to the Pretium stable. Before that purchase, Pretium recorded $52.5 million in sales, placing it 33rd on Plastics News' November 1997 ranking of North American blow molders.