In a move designed to reinforce its American footing, Glynwed International plc agreed to a $25 million cash deal to buy Japanese-owned pipe and fittings molder Eslon Thermoplastics Inc. of Pineville, N.C. Last July Glynwed acquired Ipex Inc., Canada's leading plastic pipe producer. At the time, Birmingham, England-based Glynwed said it planned to build a strong pipe base in North America similar to its successful European operations.
Glynwed still has a war chest of almost 100 million ($158 million) set aside for additional acquisitions in both its pipe and food-service equipment divisions, according to Chief Executive Officer Tony Wilson.
Glynwed bought Eslon from Sekisui America Corp., a New York-based unit of Sekisui Chemical Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan. Eslon makes PVC pipe and fittings.
The Pineville plant operates 15 extrusion lines, mainly supplied by Milacron Inc., and 25 injection molding machines in sizes up to 1,000 tons, according to Hisashi Yamasaki, president of Sekisui America Corp.
Eslon has 136 employees and resin throughput of more than 50 million pounds. The company achieved sales of more than $30 million last year. Its pipe systems are sold into the plumbing, irrigation, swimming pool and industrial markets.
As part of the deal, Glynwed is buying 10.7 acres of land next to Eslon's single plant in Pineville, near Charlotte, giving the firm room to expand. Glynwed plans to widen Eslon's product range, the firm said in a news release.
"Eslon is a business that Glynwed has targeted for some years," Wilson said in a telephone interview.
Glynwed's Harrington Industrial Plastics Inc. unit in Chino, Calif., already distributes Eslon's industrial pipe.
"We were strong in distribution in the U.S. but have lacked real size in manufacturing capacity there," Wilson said.
Don Mills, Ontario-based Ipex is strong in infrastructure pipe markets, particularly in Canada, while Eslon brings a solid presence in the U.S. industrial pipe market.
Meanwhile, Glynwed continues to expand the Ipex operations. It just approved a C$3 million (US$2.04 million) project to add three new extruders: one each in the company's plants near Montreal, Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta, Wilson said.
Yamasaki and Wilson each said Sekisui Chemical has been discussing future collaboration with Glynwed in Asia.