Structural foam molder Carson Industries Inc. plans expansion under new ownership. A management group and Norwest Equity Partners of Minneapolis acquired Carson in late February for undisclosed terms. Guy Marge, Carson's president and chief executive officer, said equity from the new owners will be used to expand product lines and capacity, for modernization and for acquisitions.
Carson runs 36 structural foam injection presses ranging from 150-900 tons. It also operates nine thermoplastic injection presses up to 750 tons to mold accessories. It had sales of $60 million last year.
Carson's main products are underground enclosures for water utilities and irrigation. Marge said his firm sees new opportunities for enclosures to house fiber-optic cables and broad-band cables as growth occurs in Internet usage, cable television and other telecommunications markets. He also pointed to cable enclosures for light-rail signaling systems as having high growth potential.
Marge said acquisition targets would complement Carson's heavy-duty enclosure business and would not necessarily be related to plastics.
"We want to provide customers with products that work hand-in-hand with those they're already using," Marge said.
Carson already has begun to branch out into new enclosure materials. In the past year it has started using a polymer concrete to make strong enclosures that are lighter and easier to install than those made of Portland cement. The polymer concrete is made from a mixture of thermoset polyester resin, aggregate and glass fiber that is cured by a chemical additive.
Carson formerly was owned by Novamil Inc., a portfolio management company that is winding down, Marge said. Carson's plants are in Glendora, Calif., where it is based; Etiwanda, Calif.; Napoleon, Ohio; Flora, Miss.; and Roscommon, Ireland. Its last major round of expansion was in 1997, when it bought Vision Molded Plastics Ltd., a deal it claimed made Carson the largest proprietary structural foam molder in the United States.