Custom blow and injection molder Emplast Inc. has sold much of its assets to Minnesota neighbor Imperial Custom Molding Inc. and may be preparing to sell the rest of the company.
Emplast sold its custom molding operations Feb. 28 to Imperial, known as ICM, and now Emplast is shipping its equipment to ICM's Rogers, Minn., plant, said ICM sales manager Mike Glynn.
The equipment includes four accumulator-head industrial blow molding machines with single and twin heads, and at least two injection presses with clamping forces of about 650 tons, Glynn said.
ICM officials are deciding how many other presses to ship from Emplast, which is about 40 miles away in Chanhassen, Minn.
Secondary equipment, including robotics cells, also are included in the sale, for an undisclosed amount.
The sale does not include two other Emplast units: one makes security packaging for compact discs, DVDs and telecommunications products; and the other provides storage products for the housewares and hardware markets. Those injection molding businesses are being sold separately by Emplast, Glynn said.
Emplast officials were not available before deadline March 4 to discuss their plans for the company. The sale to ICM also does not include Emplast's facility in Chanhassen, which remains open.
Emplast was spun off from Empak Inc. in 1996 and moved to Chanhassen. The firm initially specialized in molding large parts for recreational vehicles, such as reservoirs and fuel tanks, and later broadened to other custom areas, Glynn said.
The company later developed a niche in injection molded security cases for computer software products and CDs, growth that led to a 97,000-square-foot expansion that was completed in 2001. The company closed a second plant in Shakopee, Minn., when the expansion was finished.
The market for security jewel cases in North America has been difficult over the past several years, primarily due to overseas competition. Main jewel-case competitor Nexpak Corp. of Uniontown, Ohio, has been operating under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since July and is attempting to emerge from it now.
The custom molding business fits with ICM's existing product line, with both companies making industrial tanks, reservoirs and containers, Glynn said.
The firms also share many of the same customers, although the sale adds both technology and new customers to ICM, he added.
For ICM, adding capacity for large-parts molding was critical, said President Rob King in a written release.
ICM has measured and plumbed space in its 132,000-square-foot plant for several months in anticipation of the deal, Glynn said. Most of the equipment will be moved in March, he said.
ICM expects to add several employees and is interviewing Emplast workers, he said. ICM currently employs 200.
The deal adds about 50 percent to ICM's sales. Rogers-based ICM recorded $22 million in sales last year and expects to easily break the $30 million mark in 2005, he said.