Arrk Corp. of Osaka, Japan, continues an acquisition spree with a March 7 tender offer, valid through April 10, to buy a majority of Sekisui Machinery Co. Ltd. of Osaka.
Sekisui Group's machinery unit employed 197 as of April 2002. Arrk offered to buy Sekisui Machinery at 224 yen ($1.91) per share; the stock closed March 7 at 138 yen ($1.18).
Sekisui Machinery's die and mold division manufactures tools and the industrial machinery division makes equipment for extrusion and polystyrene foam molding. Subsidiaries include Research Laboratory of Plastics Technology Co. Ltd. of Osaka.
Since late 1998, Arrk has purchased numerous Asian and European firms and enhanced its size among the world's largest toolmakers and prototypers.
The firm's 38 units have 27 sites that provide tool engineering, design and production, and 18 that handle prototyping and prototype molding.
``The hardest part is the marketing side. We had 25 brochures and 20 Web sites,'' said Tony Moran, vice president of Arrk Product Development Group.
Arrk in the United States is several times larger than its nearest competing prototyper, and Arrk Japan is even more dominant in its home market, Moran said.
``We do prototypes of everything from automotive to cell phones,'' and the range calls for ``different magnitudes of facilities and equipment,'' he said.
In concentrating on mold making and prototyping, Arrk has opted to confine its growth in injection molding. ``We focus on supporting design companies and custom molders and don't want to compete with those companies,'' he said.
Arrk employs 100 in San Diego. Capability ranges from rapid prototyping through stereolithography and selectric laser sintering, computer numerically controlled machining and related advanced manufacturing techniques. The firm does work in silicone rubber mold making, model production, painting, finishing and silk screening.
The domestic unit deals with more than 1,000 customers a year. Prototypes and molds for computer, consumer electronic and medical parts account for 60 percent of the U.S. business and those for automotive 25 percent.
Arrk in San Diego operates two prototype molding machines of 120 and 180 tons, and the firm's Sol-Plas Mexico SA de CV unit in Tijuana, Mexico, has 25 presses of 50-400 tons. Other prototype molding occurs in nine other countries in Asia and Europe.
``So much is being taken or going to other places in the world,'' Moran said. ``The ability to manage that seems to be the key.''
Arrk ships some tools to the United States generally for large applications, ``but most of our tools are going to China,'' Moran said.
Arrk Corp. reported profit of 1.72 billion yen ($13 million) on sales of 38.1 billion yen ($287.5 million) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2002.
Of the sales, 65 percent involved metal molds and molded products, 25 percent prototype products, 8 percent design and the remainder in other categories. Analysts project sales of $380 million for the current fiscal year.
Arrk was formed in 1949 and had an initial public offering of stock in 1996.