Protective packaging leader Tuscarora Inc. has purchased electronics-products packager Specor Systems Inc. and is relocating two Michigan foam-molding plants to a larger location.
Specor, based in Eau Claire, Wis., adds new geographic regions to Tuscarora's integrated-materials products, said Tuscarora President David O'Leary in a Feb. 13 interview. With 60 employees and two manufacturing plants, Specor blends wood and fiberboard protective packaging with interior materials made of expanded foams.
Tuscarora's parent company, packaging giant Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget of Stockholm, Sweden, paid $9 million for Specor, said SCA spokesman Peter Nyquist.
The deal closed Feb. 11.
The acquisition fits Tuscarora's recent acquisition trend. Last year, the company bought regional molders in Colorado and Illinois.
``We've always made a number of smaller acquisitions, typically regional players, to create a national business,'' said O'Leary, based at Tuscarora's headquarters in New Brighton, Pa.
Specor's products shelter industrial electronic controls and medical-device equipment during shipment. The company recorded about $12 million in sales last year, O'Leary said.
The Wisconsin company converts polystyrene, polyurethane and polyethylene foams at its 85,000-square-foot plant in Eau Claire and does wood fabrication and assembly at a Minneapolis facility. The company also runs a warehouse and distribution site in Milwaukee.
Tuscarora is considering integrating the Milwaukee center with its foam-molding facility in Burlington, Wis., O'Leary said. Other former Specor plants will remain open and give the company better access to western Wisconsin and Minnesota, he added.
By midsummer, Tuscarora also will shift some of its operations in Michigan, moving into a new, larger foam molding site in Owosso, Mich., O'Leary said. The company is investing $4.3 million to renovate the 180,000-square-foot building after buying the vacant facility late last year. Tuscarora had been shopping for a new site since 2000.
Other Tuscarora plants in central Michigan are affected by the move. The company plans to close its 62,000-square-foot plant in Chesaning, Mich., and sell the building later this year. Another 50,000-square-foot molding plant in Saginaw, Mich., closed six months ago, with that work moving to Chesaning, O'Leary said.
``We needed the additional capacity and did not have the room in Chesaning,'' he said. ``The beauty of the [Owosso] facility is that it's quite near Chesaning. We can transfer our work force there and keep our experienced people.''
About 70 people currently work in Chesaning. The operation makes industrial packaging and foam energy-absorption systems for vehicle substrates using expanded PS and polypropylene foams.
The company plans to install about 15 foam-molding machines at the Owosso plant, most of them transferred from Chesaning, O'Leary said.
SCA has been extremely active in the acquisition market since buying Tuscarora in 2001. That trend could slow a bit this year, depending on the economy, and the company may consider integrating more facilities, Nyquist said.
``We've made a number of acquisitions and need a period of consolidation,'' Nyquist said. ``The more we can optimize those companies with other facilities around the United States, the more it will help us in the future.''
Tuscarora has about 40 facilities in North America with the Specor acquisition, O'Leary said. Tuscarora's sales were fairly stable in 2002, ending the year at about $300 million.
SCA recorded about $9.2 billion in 2002 sales, Nyquist said.