British custom molder Stadium Group plc has won a short but bitter struggle to acquire electrical connector and refrigeration company Beales Hunter plc.
Stadium of Hartlepool, England, a molder of electronic, automotive and consumer goods parts and baby-care products, won support from major Beales Hunter shareholders in its £11.7 million (US$19.3 million) bid, despite initial resistance from the BH board.
Beales Hunter of Nottingham, England, produces plastic and metal electrical connectors and assemblies. A second division is concerned with refrigeration installation and service. It has two injection molding units with about 30 presses producing electrical parts, Stadium said.
The deal will involve Stadium assuming $13.2 million of BH debt, and selling the refrigeration division, which accounted for more than half of BH's sales.
Stadium confirmed that it is seeking further acquisitions.
Stadium, which just reported 1997 sales up 16.7 percent to $103 million, is continuing to expand its plastics molding operations, which now include 130 injection presses. The group says the BH takeover will make it a major player in the electrical and electronics sector.
Stadium runs three plastics molding plants in Hartlepool in northern England, Hinckley in the English midlands and Newton Abbott in the country's southwest. A subsidiary at Chingford near London blow molds and injection molds baby-care products for top British retail chain Mothercare.
The group has just invested $300,000 in five new Arburg injection presses. It has installed three machines at the Hinckley plant to keep pace with increased demand for automotive and bathroom shower components. The plant took on 20 new press operators in recent months.
The plant will supply small, high-volume components to leading British shower manufacturer Triton Ltd. and to TRW Inc., a supplier of switches to the auto industry. The Hinckley plant hired 20 more press operators in recent months, taking its total work force to 118, said Stadium.
The company is installing another two Arburg presses at its Newton Abbott plant, said John Pearson, chief executive of the plastic division.
The company has grown rapidly, gaining a name as a leading second-tier supplier to the British automotive industry, a sector that now provides it with more than one-third of its plastics molding sales, noted Managing Director Jim Johnson in Stadium's 1997 operating review.
Stadium already provides parts to automotive giants, including Nissan and Volkswagen, while serving Tier 1 suppliers such as Johnson Controls Inc. and Autoliv.
Stadium had operating profit of $5.77 million last year on plastics molding sales of $63.5 million.