New ownership has centralized control of Atlanta Precision Molding Co. Ltd., a major injection molder of jewel cases. The new owner is seeking ways to diversify.
Private investment firm Palladium Equity Partners LLC of New York acquired the injection molding operations Jan. 29 from Tokyo-based Mitsubishi Corp. Terms were not disclosed.
``We will be more aggressive looking at alternative opportunities for using our facilities,'' Michael Sims, president of PEP CD Holdings, said in a recent telephone interview. ``We need to diversify.''
Under Mitsubishi, the company had been managed through two subsidiaries: Atlanta Precision Molding in Duluth, Ga.; and Europe Precision Molding BV of Helmond, the Netherlands. Another operation, California Precision Molding in El Dorado Hills, Calif., reported to APM.
PEP CD Holdings is based in Duluth, and the company continues to use the name Atlanta Precision Molding.
Sims joined the business Feb. 1 as president of the new Palladium holding entity.
The three highly automated sites operate a total of more than 150 injection molding machines with clamping forces of 150-300 tons. Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd. of Tokyo is the principal press supplier.
The Georgia and California operations supply a little less than 50 percent of the annual U.S. jewel-case market, which Sims estimated at 1.3 billion to 1.4 billion units for packaging compact discs.
Those plants and other domestic suppliers increasingly compete in the commodity market with low-cost producers in Taiwan and China.
Sims' figures exclude digital versatile discs.
``We do a little production of DVD jewel boxes, but I don't think jewel boxes have a future with DVD on the video side,'' he said.
Most DVDs are packaged in polypropylene or paperboard.
The Georgia plant was established in 1987, the European plant in 1993 and the California plant in 1996.
Now, Sims and his team are reviewing opportunities in three areas: the jewel-case market, value-added services and new products.
``We want to grow the number of jewel boxes we make,'' he said, adding that the market is an important one for the company. ``We are looking at whether we have enough total capacity in the right locations to meet marketplace requirements.''
A service the company may add is source tagging of jewel cases for theft protection, Sims said. Right now the recording industry and retailers are considering a variety of products, and have not settled on a universal standard.
``Retailers and studios will decide how to do it, then everyone will try to figure out what is best,'' he said.
The company also may add new packaging or nonpackaging products.
``We are looking at both aspects,'' he said.
Sims was senior vice president of North American distribution with Technicolor Video Services Inc. in Camarillo, Calif., for three years and, previously, held positions with the aircraft engine and power-generation units of General Electric Co.
Partner Christy S. Sadler monitors Palladium's investment in the jewel-case business.
Palladium acquired the lighting portion of General Motors Corp.'s Delphi Interior & Lighting Systems unit Nov. 1. Palladium operates the business as Guide Corp., drawing on an identity going back to Guide Motor Co.'s 1906 formation and GM ownership since 1928.
The jewel-case and lighting businesses are Palladium's only plastics operations. Palladium was formed in 1997.