Buoyed by several new automotive projects, Canadian injection molder Ventra Group Inc. plans a C$10.5 million (US$7 million) expansion to add equipment at three of its plants.
The auto-parts supplier, based in Cambridge, Ontario, will receive new plastic-components contracts from Big Three automakers worth C$40 million (US$26.7 million) by 2001, said Ventra Chief Financial Officer Dwight Rollins.
The company's Plastics Group molds exterior auto parts for pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles. The contracts call for Ventra to mold lower bumper-fascia valance panels, pickup-box top moldings and other exterior components.
The automakers asked the company not to divulge the identity of the vehicle models for the new contracts, Rollins said.
The contracts and other expected work will bump sales for Ventra's Plastics Group to about C$240 million (US$160.5 million) in three years, Rollins said. The company expects to record about C$164.5 million (US$110 million) in 1998 sales for the Plastics Group in the year ending Sept. 30, he added.
Those figures include the company's 49 percent ownership of minority supplier Camrose Technologies LLC of Ada, Okla. Ventra and Michigan executive William Pickard bought ownership of that injection molding operation from J.P. Emco Inc. in August.
To supplement the new business, Ventra is purchasing six to eight new injection presses with clamping forces of 1,000-2,000 tons, Rollins said. At least six of the presses will be installed during the 1999 fiscal year at Ventra's plants in Chatham and Windsor, Ontario, and Russellville, Ky.
To accommodate the presses, Ventra will expand its Windsor molding plant by about 15,000 square feet, Rollins said.
In addition, the molder is completing a feasibility study to determine whether to build an exterior-parts painting facility. Ventra does not operate a paint line at a molding plant except for its Camrose joint venture, Rollins said.
The business continues the strong growth of the plastics group since 1994, when Ventra bought custom injection molder Peerless-Cascade Ltd. of Windsor. The C$26 million (US$19.4 million) purchase expanded the number of Ventra's plastics plants from one to three.
Since then, the company has bought eight additional injection presses and concentrated on expanding its plastics-parts business. Currently, Ventra has more than 50 presses, with clamping forces of 1,000-3,500 tons, Rollins said.
The company splits its business between plastic and metal auto parts. Ventra also has been awarded a major new hinge, jack and gearbox program for its metal operations that will boost sales by C$44 million (US$29.4 million) in 2001, Rollins said.
The publicly held company, which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange, recorded sales of C$329.5 million (US$220 million) for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30.
Ventra was 41st on Plastics News' ranking of North American injection molders, with relevant sales of US$118 million.