Cascade Engineering Inc. and the management group of a Montpelier, Ohio, injection molding operation hope to breathe new life into the Ohio business and expand opportunities for its employees.
Cascade and the Montpelier plant's general manager, Tim Kline, have signed a definitive agreement to buy the Montpelier plant from Clarion Technologies Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich. They will call the joint venture CK Technologies LLC. The sale is scheduled to close by the end of April.
``The thing we really liked about Tim Kline and the management group there, they wanted to do something truly worthwhile for the company and the community,'' Cascade President Mike Valz said in an April 25 telephone interview. ``That was an automatic connection for us.''
Clarion listed the sale price at $12.3 million plus the value of net working capital, estimated at $750,000. Clarion sold the operation to pay down its debt.
``The sale of this facility is another significant step by Clarion to improve its financial strength,'' Clarion President William Beckman said. The firm now plans to focus on its core consumer goods and automotive markets.
Cascade, also based in Grand Rapids, plans to use the CK joint venture to establish a new customer base in the commercial truck market. The 70-employee, 164,000-square-foot facility has nine presses with clamping forces of 950-5,000 tons.
``There's a careful balance of continuing to do what we do well around the automotive and consumer products areas, but I've felt there was a significant advantage to diversifying just a little bit further,'' Valz said. ``There just seems to be a natural fit to us shifting into the heavy and medium truck [market].''
The commercial truck market is slow now, Valz admits, but is poised to recover soon. Kline and the Montpelier plant already have established customers in the industry, producing a variety of interior and exterior components. CK Technologies can combine Kline's contacts and the in-house molding and compounding expertise in Cascade to offer even more to truck makers.
Cascade had about $160 million in sales last year, with 60 percent of its business in the auto industry. It also makes large residential rubbish bins and office furniture components. The company is aiming at growth across its existing markets along with expansion into new arenas as it moves toward a goal of $1 billion in annual sales during the next decade.
Cascade - which has won national recognition for its employee and community service programs - also expects it can revitalize the operation in Ohio, bringing production up to capacity and giving the plant and the community a strong industrial base. Valz and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Fred P. Keller plan to meet with employees and civic leaders early next month.
``There's a right balance of overlaying and supporting Montpelier with the infrastructure that we've got, as well as using what they've got and leveraging it here,'' Valz said.