FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. — A year after landing two marine-related plants as part of its largest acquisition, Spartech Corp. plans to merge them at a new, controlled-environment facility.
Spartech of Clayton, Mo., will open a leased, 75,000-square-foot sheet fabricating facility by early March in Rockledge, Fla., said Scott Higbie, operations manager for Spartech Marine.
The Spartech Marine division had split its operations between two cast-cell acrylic sheet forming plants in Rockledge and Melbourne, Fla.
The Melbourne plant closed in January and its equipment was moved to the new building. The smaller, 38,000-square-foot Rockledge plant now is shifting workers and equipment to the nearby site, Higbie said.
"It will give us better environment controls for our thermal processes," Higbie said Feb. 8 during the International Boatbuilders' Exhibition & Conference in Fort Lauderdale. "We're in transition now."
The plants — creating Spartech's custom marine products division — were acquired in December 1999 from Sarasota, Fla.-based Uniroyal Technology Corp. Uniroyal sold its sheet business, and nine plants, to Spartech for $217.5 million.
The two Florida plants have a long history, said Bill Augustine, vice president of custom products for Spartech Marine. The plants, more than 30 years old, were bought by Uniroyal in 1998 and 1999. They formerly were owned by ViPlex Corp. and Happel Marine Inc.
The facilities thermoform custom latches, windshields, wind screens, hatch covers and trim by making cast-cell acrylic sheet, a product formed by curing a liquid resin in a closed mold.
The parts are used on both large boats and smaller watercraft, Augustine said. The plants also use a powder-coating process to bend metal frames.
The new Rockledge plant will include clean rooms for powder coating and an environmentally controlled plant floor to help parts maintain their shape, Augustine said. New laminating and spray booths also will be added.
Spartech plans to shift 170 employees to the new plant. The investment was not disclosed.
The company plans to release several new product lines after the expansion is complete, Augustine said.
Spartech Marine is part of the company's molded and profile products subsidiary. That subsidiary, with 12 plants, recorded $12.3 million in profit on $97.3 million in sales for fiscal year 2000, which ended Oct. 31.
Spartech recorded $961.4 million in sales during the 2000 fiscal year.