Mold-Rite Plastics Inc. has acquired the assets of Lermer Packaging Corp. from Waddington plc and will move equipment — but not the 190 employees — from Garwood, N.J., to the Mold-Rite site in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Terms were not disclosed. "We have started to bring up tooling not being used," Geoffrey Titherington Jr., Mold-Rite vice president of sales and marketing, said in a telephone interview.
New Jersey production will end in late April. Mold-Rite does not plan to retain any of Lermer's 190 employees.
Lermer was generating annual sales of about $13 million and occupied 136,000 square feet.
Leeds, England-based Waddington completed the sale March 13, Titherington said. Lermer reported within the Waddington Jaycare Packaging Division, based in Carlstadt, N.J.
Industry sources said Waddington seriously considered closing the troubled injection molding operation.
Irregularities in Lermer inventories caused Waddington to take a charge against earnings last year.
Subsequently, British investment fund UK Active Value used John Mansfield Group plc as a buyout vehicle to acquire Waddington. Mansfield Group is a small timber company based in Marchington, England.
Selling Lermer represents Mansfield Group's first major move with Waddington.
Lermer specializes in plastic vials, straight-wall and double-wall jars and closures. Mold-Rite has strengths in pharmaceutical and cosmetic jars and closures.
"Basically, they have the same as what we are doing," Titherington said.
While Lermer has sold directly to end-users, Mold-Rite will funnel the Lermer business through its 200-plus distributors worldwide.
Lermer has 60 injection molding machines, most Van Dorns, of 70-350 tons and secondary systems for decorating, five-color offset printing and silk-screening. It has about 300 molds.
"The added decorating equipment is essential for future growth," he said.
Mold-Rite employs 220 and seeks to hire 50-100 additional machine operators now, Titherington said.
The firm owns 17 acres with 110,000 square feet for manufacturing and 160,000 square feet for warehousing.
Mold-Rite operates 65 molding machines with clamping forces of 155-300 tons. Many are robot-equipped. The presses include six Milacron Roboshots.
"We will probably move some warehousing off-site to other buildings we own," he said.
Waddington had acquired the Lermer assets for about $4 million in a February 1998 bankruptcy sale in Trenton, N.J. Lermer filed in June 1996 for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
The Waddington unit in Carlstadt manufactures pharmaceutical packaging in Saddle Brook N.J.; Upland, Calif.; and Salt Lake City and operates warehouses in Carlstadt and Moonachie, N.J.
Chief Executive Officer Geoffrey Titherington founded Mold-Rite in 1976 with five used molding machines and six full-time employees.
Now, in addition to his namesake son, he has two sons and a daughter in the business: Paul Titherington as president, Diane McCarty as vice president of human resources and Gary Titherington as vice president of purchasing.
At a Jan. 14 banquet, the Plattsburgh/North County Chamber of Commerce named Mold-Rite its business of the year.