William B.R. Hobbs is no stranger to mergers and acquisitions. Before joining Trend Technologies as president and chief executive officer in 1998, he simultaneously served as a director, chief operating officer, president and CEO of the Certex Group, which makes heavy-lifting equipment; and managing director of Bridon Manufacturing for Bridon plc of Retford, England.
He was responsible for all operations, including 21 steel-related factories and 135 fabrication and distribution centers located in 20 countries throughout the world. While heading up Bridon's core manufacturing businesses, he started the Certex Group, which quickly grew to become a $400 million business and was the driver behind the 75 percent premium paid for Bridon in a friendly tender offer by FKI plc, a large London-based, publicly traded conglomerate, in 1997.
Hobbs has kept that trend alive with San Jose, Calif.-based Trend, the 18th largest North American injection molder, with molding sales of $308 million, according to Plastics News' most recent industry ranking. In 1999, Trend ranked 24th on that list, with related molding sales of $197 million.
Trend has purchased at least four companies during Hobbs' tenure, while also expanding through internal growth. Hobbs also was at the helm when the company was itself bought by an English equity firm in March 2000. The new owners promise to provide even more capital for continued growth. Trend was a finalist for Plastics News' 2000 Processor of the Year Award.
Before joining Bridon, Hobbs was president of the American Construction Group, a leading manufacturer of heavy-duty cranes and construction equipment. The group consisted of three divisions, five plants and 1,500 employees. Earlier, Hobbs held several key jobs with FMC Corp. of Chicago, including director of marketing for the Construction Equipment Group and general manager of its Brazil operations.
Hobbs received his bachelor's degree in applied mathematics, concentrating in physics and economics, from Harvard University in 1971 and his MBA from the same institution in 1975. He taught high school math and physics between his undergraduate and graduate years and also has started or co-owned several small businesses.
For more information about Hobbs and his company, see the Trend Technologies Web site at www.trendtechnologies.com.