Injection molder Carclo Engineering plc has extended its range with the £9.2 million ($15 million) purchase of Combined Optical Industries Ltd.
Meanwhile, a Carclo official said the company is considering several U.S. acquisitions. The Sheffield, England-based firm is in advanced negotiations in at least one case and expects to close a deal ``within a matter of months,'' said spokesman Nick Parker.
He said a U.S. deal will be the first important step in its strategy of replicating its British plastics operations across the Atlantic.
Combined Optical of Slough, England, will be renamed CTP Coil. The firm serves the automotive, telecommunications and medical sectors with products for mobile phones, car dashboard displays and motorcycle helmet visors. It employs 230, chiefly at its Slough plant, which has 28 injection presses with up to 250 tons in clamping force.
Combined Optical also has a Chicago sales and warehouse facility for medical customers.
Quadramatic plc of Oldham, England, announced in May that it planned to sell Combined Optical and other operations to concentrate on its cash-control system operations. The firm still plans to sell Kestrel Injection Moulders Ltd. and Hampton Industries Ltd., which molds glass-reinforced plastic components.
Carclo will invest about £1 million ($1.65 million) in CTP Coil, including an order to upgrade some of its Demag injection machines, Parker said.
Combined Optical recorded a pretax profit of £1.63 million ($2.68 million) on sales of £13.4 million ($22 million) for the fiscal year ended Oct. 31. Sales were hit in the second half after a delay in the firm's sale; since October it has dipped into the red, according to Carclo.
``The business has been up for sale since May. That's not a good time for the customer base nor the work force,'' Parker said.
Carclo will pay £9.2 million ($15.2 million), including the assumption of £3.3 million ($5.4 million) of debt.
With this acquisition, Carclo's technical plastics division represents more than half of the company's operations.