Two private equity groups have joined the management of Weber Manufacturing Ltd. to acquire the Canadian mold maker. The buyers say the deal will provide stability for growth, while allowing the firm's founder to continue providing guidance.
American Capital Strategies Ltd. of Bethesda, Md., and Chicago-based TMB Industries jointly acquired Weber with additional investments from company managers. Former owner Reinhart Weber, who launched the company in 1962, will serve on Weber Manufacturing's board and will be a consultant.
Weber executives began looking for suitors about eight months ago, said Jerry Smith, manager of sales and marketing. Its expertise in nickel-shell molds gave the firm an edge.
``If we were just a standard, high-technology tool shop, I don't think it would have worked as well,'' he said in an Oct. 8 telephone interview.
The companies did not disclose the purchase price for the 200-employee business.
Weber will retain its name and its two facilities in Midland, Ontario.
The firm designs and manufactures nickel-shell molds through its own nickel vapor deposition system developed in the 1990s.
It also produces traditional steel and aluminum molds for injection molding and compression molding, used by customers in the automotive, commercial truck, aerospace and housing markets.
``As NVD processing holds important advantages over traditional electroplating and other mold-manufacturing processes, the company should experience numerous growth opportunities by applying the process to new products and applications,'' said new Chief Executive Officer David Hoyte.
``With [the new funding], Weber is better positioned to use its strengths to develop new markets.''
The acquisition marks American Capital's eighth buyout for 2004. It has invested funds in a variety of industries in the past, including auto supplier Plastech Engineered Products Inc. and packaging company Graham Partners Inc.