Blackhawk Automotive Plastics Inc. has sold its new injection molding facility in Mississauga, Ontario, to Johnson Controls Inc., to help recapitalize its operations with a focus on U.S. production.
A growing JCI, meanwhile, will use the plant to bolster its assembly operations in Ontario.
``Selling the Canadian subsidiary allows us to focus on continuing to grow our U.S.-based business,'' said Clifford Croley, Blackhawk's chief executive officer, in a May 23 announcement.
The companies did not disclose the sale price for the 288,400-square-foot plant, which houses 40 presses.
Salem, Ohio-based Blackhawk opened the subsidiary in September 2003, supplying JCI as well as automakers DaimlerChrysler AG and General Motors Corp.
Blackhawk executives noted the privately owned firm is finalizing negotiations that also aim to bring in fresh equity financing from its existing lenders. They will use that money and funds from the plant sale to expand Blackhawk's U.S. operations through internal expansion and acquisition.
The company is preparing to launch ``several major new programs'' in the coming months for DaimlerChrysler, GM and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.
Blackhawk employs about 1,700 people and runs 135 injection presses at its three processing facilities in Ohio, at Salem, Upper Sandusky and Mason. It also has a technical center in Troy, Mich. Its annual sales are about $240 million.
JCI, meanwhile, is ready to bulk up its processing capabilities in the Toronto region.
The auto interior giant has several just-in-time assembly operations for automakers in the area, preparing seats, instrument panels, door panels, center consoles and other systems. The bulk of its plastic components, however, are purchased from outside suppliers like Blackhawk or shipped from more distant JCI molding sites, said Jack Murphy, vice president and general manager for interiors operations with JCI's Plymouth, Mich.-based auto unit.
The Mississauga site will provide it with regional processing, adding it to limited processing at its Whitby, Ontario, assembly facility.
``It gives us a good opportunity for a footprint in that area,'' Murphy said.
There are five major auto assembly plants already in south-central Ontario, with Toyota Motor Corp. expected to confirm plans for a new facility in Woodstock, Ontario, soon.