Trivest Inc. has acquired 80 percent of Superior International Industries Inc., a Carrollton, Ga.-based rotational molder.
"The company's been performing very well and has been growing nicely over the past five years. That's what attracted us to it," said Trivest Managing Director Derek McDowell. "We think Superior and its collective brands are one of the top 10 playground manufacturers in the U.S.
"Our goal is to build it to the top three or four. Ours is to get it up to $100 million plus."
Trivest is a private investment firm based in Miami. Its other plastics industry holdings include a stake in septic tank rotomolder Norwesco Inc. of St. Bonifacius, Minn.
McDowell said Superior's management staff will remain in place, and operations will continue as normal in Carrollton and at an Arlington, Texas, welding and design facility.
Superior last reported corporate sales at $30 million, with rotomolding sales at $5.75 million in the most recent Plastics News ranking of North American rotational molders.
Superior's rotomolding sales have dropped from about $10 million in 1995, and the number of employees has declined from 90 to 50 in the same period.
Asked if a weakening toy market prompted the decline, McDowell countered that the company's strength has always been indoor and outdoor play equipment, and toys never were a major market for Superior.
The closure last year of a Fisher-Price Inc. rotomolding factory in Augusta, Ga. — blamed on a slowdown in demand for outdoor toys — did not affect Superior negatively, he said. In fact, McDowell said Superior contracted to make indoor play areas for Burger King quick-service restaurants.
"They've built upon that to expand outdoor markets for playgrounds, parks, municipalities and schools," McDowell said. "They've never been manufacturers of toys for the consumer market."
The company started out making components to sell to other assemblers and installers, and has expanded into outdoor equipment, he said.
Trivest's other plastics-related holdings include stakes in film extruder Plassein Packaging Corp. of Hartford, Conn.; heavy-gauge thermoformer Penda Corp. of Portage, Wis.; film extruder and injection molder Atlantis Plastics Inc. of Atlanta; plastisol producer Rutland Plastics of Pineville, N.C.; and cutlery maker Jet Plastica Industries Inc. of Hatfield, Pa.