Wentworth Technologies Co. Ltd., one of the world's largest blow mold makers, has extended its reach into thermoforming with a series of acquisitions.
In February, Mississauga, Ontario-based Wentworth bought the thermoforming assets of Therma Systems Inc. of South Plainfield, N.J., for an undisclosed amount.
Therma Systems' parent company, medical-parts producer Seco Products Corp. of Washington, Mo., sold seven in-line thermoformers to Wentworth but kept the South Plainfield plant for warehouse space, said Wentworth President and majority owner Walter Kuskowski.
Wentworth also purchased Amhil Engineering Ltd. of Mississauga, a thermoformer of dome and flat lids for plastic cups. That sale, terms of which were not disclosed, was completed in March 1998 but not announced publicly until now, said Amhil Chief Executive Officer Hugh Van Melle.
Wentworth now plans to double the size of Amhil's Mississauga plant to accommodate some of the lines from the Therma Systems deal, Kuskowski said.
Kuskowski, a Polish immigrant who once worked at General Electric Co., started Wentworth nine years ago.
``Considering we started our first year with sales of C$1.5 million (US$987,000), we've done nicely,'' he said.
Wentworth, which has purchased five blow and injection molding toolmakers, expects to record sales of C$100 million (US$65.8 million) in 1999, Kuskowski said.
The thermoforming end of the business has come more recently. Wentworth wanted to move into parts processing without stepping on the toes of mold-buying customers, Kuskowski said. Since the company does not make vacuum forming tools, it seemed a good fit, he said.
About half of Wentworth's sales — or more than US$30 million — will come from thermoforming this year, he said. All together, the company employs more than 600.
The Amhil acquisition first put Wentworth on the thermoforming map. Amhil ranked 35th on Plastics News' list of North American thermoformers, with US$26.5 million in 1998 sales. The firm operates 10 thermoforming lines at plants in Mississauga and Dickson, Tenn.
Wentworth plans to invest US$5 million to add 62,000 square feet to the Mississauga plant, Kuskowski said. Four thermoforming lines will be added, giving the plant 11 lines, he added.
When the expansion is completed in June, the plant will have a total of 127,000 square feet. The site also has a 40,000-square-foot warehouse.
``We'll be able to handle peak requirements much better after the expansion,'' Kuskowski said. ``It's a somewhat-seasonal business, and we have to respond.''
Wentworth also may expand the 45,000-square-foot Dickson plant, which sits on 22 acres, Kuskowski said.
The Amhil sale to Wentworth was kept private for a year while Van Melle gradually told customers and formed his retirement plans.
The plants make polystyrene drink-cup lids for many major cup companies, Van Melle said.
Wentworth is considering other acquisitions in 1999, including plants in England and Singapore, Kuskowski said.