PH Group expanding with Vertech buy
COLUMBUS, OHIO — PH Group is expanding its vertical-clamp injection molding press lineup by acquiring Vertech Systems LLC.
PH Group's Trueblood presses are usually 150 tons and bigger, while Vertech has focused on vertical presses of 15-40 tons. PH Group President Charles Sherman said Vertech also will help his firm diversify into medical and electronic markets. It is now heavily weighted to automotive sales.
Vertech was formed in 1997 by Mike Noggle, former president of custom molder SPM Inc., and his friend Truman Stegmaier. Noggle will be a sales and marketing consultant for PH Group after the deal is finalized April 1. Stegmaier will be responsible for turnkey systems and new product development.
Sherman said the purchase will allow PH Group to offer turnkey insert molding systems, including molds. Vertech has mold-building capability at its Houston plant. PH Group has relied on outside mold builders.
PH Group will pay a combination of cash, stock and debt assumption worth about $1.1 million, Sherman said by telephone from the firm's Columbus headquarters.
Vertech is building a $4 million plant in Columbus and will relocate Vertech and its other operations there when it is completed in late summer. Vertech's sales force will relocate to Columbus as soon as the deal is finalized.
Battenfeld plants operate despite strike
GLOUCESTER, MASS. — Battenfeld Gloucester Engineering Co. Inc. continues limited production at its Gloucester plants despite a strike by shop workers.
About 180 employees in Local 2654 of the International Association of Machinists began the strike after their contract expired Feb. 27. Battenfeld Gloucester President Harold Wrede said management personnel are building machinery and that after-sales services are unaffected by the walkout.
Wrede said workers object to the firm's use of subcontracted workers and overtime during peak workloads. He said the firm wants to retain its rights to use subcontractors and that comments from striking workers lead him to believe the strike will be settled shortly. A federal mediator is involved in negotiations.
The two Gloucester plants make extrusion machinery for blown and cast film, sheet and foam. They have been unionized for about 20 years. No other Battenfeld operations are unionized or affected by the strike, Wrede said March 11.
Royal Group, Ultraframe form venture
WOODBRIDGE, ONTARIO — Royal Group Technologies Ltd. plans to extend its modular building system to conservatories, sun rooms and similar building additions.
The Woodbridge-based firm entered a joint venture with Ultraframe plc to produce conservatory and sun-room systems in Canada, the United States and Mexico. The venture will combine Ultraframe's patented roofing systems, including metal and vinyl components, with Royal's extruded vinyl profiles for walls.
Ultraframe, based in Lancashire, England, specializes in glazed roofing systems. It has not been active in North America but has been looking for a way to enter the market, according to spokesman Brian Coleman-Smith. Its sales were about £61.6 million (US$100.6 million) last year. The public firm's current market capitalization is about £350 million (US$571.6 million).
The 50-50 venture, Royal Ultraframe Ltd., will be based near Royal's existing facilities.
Innovative buys thermoformer Allpax
ORANGEBURG, N.Y. — Innovative Plastics Corp. of Orangeburg has acquired Allplax Inc. and plans to close the South Hackensack, N.J.-based thermoformer April 1.
The transaction is ``an amicable sale to a friendly competitor,'' said David Gross, vice president of sales for Pioneer Paper Corp., Allplax's parent company in Carlstadt, N.J.
Allplax's market, which focused on blister trays and medical and cosmetic trays made of high-impact polystyrene, PVC and PET, had shrunk in recent years. Its sales had been about $6.7 million in 1997, but dropped to about $4.5 million in 1998. Innovative had thermoforming sales of $25.5 million in 1998.
Pioneer will continue to work with Innovative as a supplier to Market Plastics, a Pioneer-owned vinyl heat-sealing business in Passaic, N.J. Innovative will offer positions to Allplax's 30 employees. Allplax will sell its eight thermoformers.
Terms of the deal were not released. Innovative officials could not be reached for comment.