Flambeau Corp. and Flambeau Products Corp. plan to diversify their recently established European base. Nordic Group, parent company of the Flambeau firms, acquired Blowspeed Ltd. of Ramsgate, England, in mid-December. Blowspeed, formerly owned by a two-family trust, is Nordic's first operation in Europe.
The unit, which was renamed Flambeau Europlast Ltd., had annual sales of about 8 million ($13 million), Flambeau Corp. President Bill Flint said in a telephone interview.
Flambeau Corp. and Flambeau Products jointly will manage the Ramsgate-based business, which will make a mix of custom and proprietary goods on its 19 blow molding machines and six injection presses.
Flambeau Products will introduce proprietary products such as injection molded and blow molded cases and storage products to Ramsgate. Flambeau already exports proprietary molded cases to Europe. The Ramsgate facility will allow the firm to cut costs in supplying that market.
For Baraboo, Wis.-based custom processor Flambeau Corp., the Ramsgate operation provides a European presence and a boost in the automotive end market. Automotive work was Blowspeed's main business, Flint said.
About 45 percent of Flambeau Corp.'s business is automotive. The European expansion, plus Flambeau's recently opened Mexican plant, should solidify its share of the auto business, he said.
Plasticos Flambeau S de RL de CV started operations last year, and soon will add a twin-head, 25-pound blow molding machine to its current stable of six machines. The Saltillo, Mexico, facility also will enter injection molding, with four new presses, with clamping forces of 150-300 tons.
Roger Dennett, Blowspeed's former chief executive officer, will continue in that position at Flambeau Europlast. Chuck Frank, Flambeau Corp. vice president, will work closely with Flambeau Europlast as it makes the transition. Flint said the Ramsgate management team will remain in place, headed by Dennett.
The British business also has sales to appliance, toy and other markets. Established in 1975, it has QS 9000 and ISO 9002 certifications. It will have access to Flambeau's technical center in Baraboo, which serves the custom molding and proprietary product operations of the Flambeau companies.
Flambeau Corp. and Flambeau Products of Middlefield, Ohio, have combined annual sales of about $170 million.