German custom molder Wilden AG has jumped into the toothbrush business by purchasing Interbros GmbH - and Wilden plans to invest in new technology to mold-in the bristles on premium toothbrushes.
Wilden already makes toothpaste dispensers, so toothbrushes are a natural fit, officials said.
Regensburg, Germany-based Wilden took over all Interbros business operations Oct. 1. Interbros was part of the financially troubled Wald-Michenbacher Coronet group. Terms were not disclosed.
The new company, called Wilden Interbros AG, is based in Kussnacht, Switzerland, at an existing Wilden facility. The new owner will retain the Interbros molding factory in SchÃ¶nau, Germany.
``The acquisition helps us hoist our reviews beyond the 200 million euro mark ($240 million) and meet our target for 2006,'' said Bert Wilden, chief executive officer of Wilden AG. In 2005, the company expected sales of about 180 million euros ($217 million). Interbros brings in about 30 million euros ($36 million) of additional business, said Karin Strasser, head of marketing.
Wilden had 2004 sales of 164 million euros ($197 million).
Wilden molds a range of products. Automotive accounts for about 80 percent of total sales, according to Strasser. Other markets include medical and personal-care products.
Interbros fits well with the oral-care segment of Wilden's consumer health-care business unit, officials said. Wilden has been making toothpaste dispensers for GlaxoSmithKline.
Interbros also supplies GlaxoSmithKline with toothbrushes, under the Dr. Best brand. Interbros also supplies toothbrushes to other international companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Unilever Oral Care, German personal-care supplier Henkel KGaA, German drugstore chain Schlecker and the Aldi grocery chain.
Interbros also manufactures its own Fuchs brand of toothbrushes, sold in Germany. The company also makes plastic dental sticks for cleaning between the teeth. Wilden Interbros holds many patents and industrial property rights, officials said.
Toothbrushes are one of the original products to use multicomponent injection molding technology. Strasser said Wilden already has experience in multishot molding. But Wilden wants to take toothbrush manufacturing to the next level, according to Jens Lubben, head of production.
Initially, Wilden Interbros will invest in technology to mold bristles directly into the toothbrushes in the mold - a process called ``anchorless'' bristle attachment. Traditionally, the bristles are inserted into the brushes in a complex second step.
``This will consolidate the company's position as a leader in technological innovation,'' Lubben said.