The Drinkall family has bought back the injection molding business that William H. Drinkall founded in 1959, renewing its traditional name of South Bend Plastics Inc.
Austin Drinkall bought the assets of the Mishawaka, Ind., business back from Eagle-Trim Inc. on June 13, leaving behind Eagle-Trim's own bankruptcy filing. South Bend Plastics had a separate loan arrangement, so it never was in Chapter 11 along with Kalkaska, Mich.-based Eagle-Trim, Drinkall said.
``It's definitely good to get out from under that cloud of doubt,'' he said in a June 12 telephone interview. ``We didn't lose any contracts, but certainly news like we had floating around is motivation by [companies] to do some consolidation of their supply base.''
Drinkall did not disclose the purchase price, but said it was a combination of cash and debt assumption.
Eagle-Trim purchased South Bend Plastics in 2000. The company had about $10 million in annual sales to the auto, appliance and lawn and garden industries, and shops in Mishawaka and Decatur, Ala. The parent company filed in May 2001 for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Drinkall, whose father launched the business, continued running the day-to-day operations as president through the changes, a post he still holds.
The firm has continued to hold its own, Drinkall said, and has taken on new work, including foam-in-place and sonic welding for its automotive customers. South Bend Plastics employs 110 in Mishawaka and another 30 at its Technology Molded Plastics unit in Decatur, Ala. South Bend has 39 presses, with clamping forces of 17-700 tons.
``We're one of the few firms established [in Alabama],'' Drinkall said. ``It's been quiet up until now, but it's picking up.''
More auto makers have moved into the South, with Alabama serving as home to a new assembly plant for Honda Motor Co. Ltd. in Anniston and selected to house the first North American assembly plant for South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. Other auto assembly operations are spread through Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia and South Carolina.
``We're hoping to tap into almost all of those plants,'' he said.