After leading the company for several years, two top executives with blow molder Custom Bottle Inc. have purchased the firm from founder Robert Lerman.
Chief Executive Officer Barry Lerman, who is a first cousin of Robert Lerman, and Chief Operating Officer Richard Allen have bought the Naugatuck, Conn.-based bottle maker for an undisclosed price, the two said in a Dec. 15 telephone interview. Several senior managers also have purchased a stake in the company.
Robert Lerman left day-to-day operations of Custom Bottle in 2000 to focus on ebottles.com, a Web purchasing site for bottles and related packaging. Lerman founded Custom Bottle as a distributor in 1979 and added blow molding in 1984.
Custom Bottle includes an extrusion blow molding operation called Custom Bottle Manufacturing and the Lerman Container Division, a bottle distributor also based in Naugatuck. The company has about 160 full-time employees and sales of less than $50 million, Allen said.
The new owners will focus on improving the business, from sales growth to efficiency to cost controls, Barry Lerman said. After that, Custom Bottle will look at possible expansions or acquisitions, he said. The firm makes bottles for personal-care, chemical and food uses, among others.
``The benefit for employees is that there is no major change here,'' Barry Lerman said. ``We're still here and running the business. We have a vested interest in the company, and we are focusing our energy on growth.''