GWB (USA) Inc., the U.S. arm of British investment group Gartland Whalley & Barker plc, has bought Clearwater, Fla., metal stamper and plastics insert molder Sun Microstamping Inc. Terms were not disclosed. GWB (USA) will combine Sun Microstamping with its Iroquois Precision Components Inc. metalworking unit in Winsted, Conn.
GWB (USA) plans to acquire similar companies in Britain later this year and combine the operations, according to Bryan Clarke, GWB (USA)'s president and chief executive officer.
Clarke also revealed that GWB plans to take the enlarged Iroquois group public on the Nasdaq stock exchange by November.
"GWB is uniquely situated to be able to acquire in the U.S. or the United Kingdom, as we are on both sides of the Atlantic," Clarke said. GWB (USA) is headquartered in Atlanta.
Sun Microstamping, run by four partners and led by President Bob Bears, formed 10 years ago solely as a metal stamper. Three years ago it added insert molding.
Today the firm employs 300 and operates eight insert presses in clamping forces up to 50 tons. The company serves telecommunications and automotive customers, Clarke said. Sun Microstamping had 1999 sales of about $50 million, and has shown 30 percent compound annual growth in recent years, he said.
GWB has as much as $50 million earmarked to spend on acquisitions for the Iroquois group in Europe. Ideally, it wants to add a business like Sun, capable of both metal stamping and insert molding, Clarke said. He added that the firm already has looked at five possible additions in Britain.
Iroquois already includes Roll Ease Inc. of Stamford, Conn., which makes proprietary systems for raising and lowering window shades and blinds; Homer D. Hinge Co.; and International Metal Products of Chicopee, Mass., which makes high-tolerance, small metal parts for writing instruments.
Gartland Whalley & Barker of Halifax, England, reported 1999 operating profit of 27 million ($43 million) on sales of 101 million ($160 million).
GWB's British holdings include Cirqual plc and Windmill Extrusions Ltd., both of Ashbourne, England.
Those companies design and extrude complex plastic profiles for proprietary bath and tile edges, supermarket shelf edging and general extrusions.
Meanwhile, GWB (USA) is in the process of establishing a second industrial group in the United States, following its $11 million purchase in January of PolyTech South Inc., an Atlanta-based color and additive concentrates supplier.
GWB plans to acquire two more U.S. businesses by October to build up the compounding operation, which now is named PolyTeque Inc., Clarke said.