An Ohio financier is diving into the plastics market by purchasing an injection molding plant from Union Tools Inc.
Steve Clay bought the 110,000-square-foot facility in Hebron, Ohio, in late December. Clay owns and operates Mortgage Banc, a mortgaging firm in Columbus, Ohio.
Clay teamed up with Al Schultice, a former Union Tools supervisor now working for Cambridge Tool & Die Corp., an injection molder and mold maker in Cambridge, Ohio. The two men formed Prestige Plastics LLC. Clay is president of the new firm, while Schultice is general manager. Schultice will acquire part of the company from Clay during the next several years.
The plant employs 58 and makes parts for lawn and garden tools.
``This is my first venture into manufacturing, but I was looking to diversify,'' Clay said. ``I did a lot of research, and a lot of people asked me why I wanted to get into injection molding right now, with so much business going overseas and so many companies closing.
``I took a hard look at it and I really feel that the economy has turned around, and that if we concentrate on our niches, we can do some things better than other companies do and be successful.''
At first, Columbus-based Union Tools will be Prestige's largest customer, accounting for about half of total sales. Clay said he would like to diversify into other consumer-type products - as well as into the medical and electronic markets - and reduce Union Tools' share of Prestige sales to 25 percent in the next five years. Prestige will focus on large jobs and products made of nylon and other engineering resins.
Clay said he would like to return the plant to the 100-employee level it was at just a few years ago. Prestige already has hired an additional shift supervisor and is hiring another.
The plant has the capacity to double its sales with the existing building and equipment, according to Clay.
The site operates 23 injection presses with clamping forces of 70-1,500 tons. Clay declined to disclose the plant's annual sales or the total purchase price, but he confirmed that the building, excluding machinery, and 10-acre lot were $1.7 million.