North America's biggest rotational molder of septic tanks just got bigger.
Norwesco Inc. on Sept. 19 purchased the septic tank business of Rochester Rotational Molding Inc., including a plant in Lakeland, Fla., with one large double-shuttle machine and about 20 employees.
The deal also includes molds from RRM's headquarters factory in Rochester, Ind., which Norwesco will move to its factory in Washington Court House, Ohio. Terms were not disclosed.
RRM, owned by the husband-and-wife team of Marilyn and Allen Wade, will continue in business at the Indiana factory with two rotomolding machines. The firm employs about 30 people in Indiana.
``We're in the process of developing some of our own proprietary products in another line,'' said Marilyn Wade, an industry activist who served as 2000 president of the Association of Rotational Molders International.
Norwesco is a giant in the rotomolding ranks, with $64 million in 2004 sales from septic tanks and large, above-ground tanks for agriculture and other markets. But despite its size, Norwesco had not cracked the Florida septic market, said Thomas Smith, president and chief executive officer of the St. Bonifacius, Minn.-based molder.
``We do a lot of business in Florida in above-ground, but very little business in below-ground. So Rochester was the perfect acquisition for us,'' Smith said. The deal also will help Norwesco pick up Midwest business, he said.
With the Florida plant, Norwesco now has 15 factories and more than 30 machines.
Smith said Norwesco wants to buy more tank molders. ``We're looking for niches like this, where we can go after a state, or get some nice market share,'' he said.
RRM opened the Florida plant, the company's second location, in early 2004. Greg Wade, the couple's son who worked out of the Florida operation as vice president of sales, will join Norwesco to handle sales in the eastern half of the country.
With its high water table, Florida is considered a challenging septic tank market. RRM's low-profile tank, developed by Allen Wade, features molded-in, hollow columns that provide structural strength and allow ground water to pass by more easily.
Norwesco officials are figuring out how to integrate Rochester and Norwesco septic tanks.
``We will consider adding some Rochester products to Norwesco's product line and we plan to make Norwesco products available to Rochester's distributors,'' Smith said.
The deal happened during Rotoplas, the rotomolding industry's biggest event, held Sept. 18-19 in Rosemont, Ill. Officials of Norwesco and Rochester did not attend the conference.
Norwesco is the fifth-largest rotomolder in North America, according to Plastics News' ranking published in August. RRM ranked No. 57, with sales of $5.7 million, but is well-known in rotomolding.