PH Group Inc., a maker of vertical-clamp injection presses, has shut down and sold its core Trueblood line to one of its primary stockholders: the parent company of nearby equipment supplier HPM.
The deal gives HPM, based in Mount Gilead, Ohio, its first line of vertical presses, said Christopher Filos, president and chief executive officer of both HPM and parent company Taylor's Industrial Services LLC of Tinton Falls, N.J.
Taylor's bought selected assets of PH Group from Bank of New York Co. Inc., not from PH directly, Filos said. Columbus, Ohio-based PH had turned over its assets to the bank, its largest creditor, and was close to ceding control to the firm before the sale, Filos said.
The sale was completed Nov. 13 for undisclosed terms but had not been announced while court papers were being prepared, Filos said.
``[PH Group] was in trouble just prior to this step,'' Filos said Dec. 5 from Mount Gilead. ``Like a lot of companies, they ran too high a debt when the downturn came but didn't have the sales to support it. They struggled to keep afloat for awhile but it was very hard.''
As little as three years ago, PH had sales approaching $15 million and close to 75 employees, Filos said. The company had built its reputation with the Trueblood injection presses, in both standard and custom models. The vertical machines, popular for insert and multishot molding, come in clamping forces as high as 800 tons, Filos said.
HPM also will use the Trueblood brand name on compression molding and metal-stamping machines. In March 2002, Taylor's purchased a 43.7 percent share of common stock in PH Group, traded over the counter, and was its largest single stockholder. HPM and PH Group began sharing customers and engineering resources but maintained separate production facilities.
PH Group's leased, 40,750-square-foot Columbus facility now sits vacant, and manufacturing of the vertical presses has shifted to HPM's plant. HPM took on about a dozen PH Group employees, Filos said. PH Group had about 40 employees at the time of its shutdown, he added.
Former PH President Charles Sherman was not among the employees hired by HPM. Sherman could not be located immediately for comment Dec. 5.