In a deal that links two big rotational mold makers, Minnesota-based Lakeland Mold Co. plans to buy Wheeler Boyce Co. of Stow, Ohio, to create what Lakeland claims will be the world's largest maker of the molds.
Brainerd, Minn.-based Lakeland announced March 2 that Wheeler Boyce had accepted its offer. Terms were not disclosed for the deal, which is expected to close by March 31.
Lakeland President John Newhouse said manufacturing operations will continue in both Minnesota and Ohio. Both states are centers of the U.S. rotomolding industry. Wheeler Boyce is near the two largest rotomolders, toy makers Step2 Co. in Streetsboro, Ohio, and Little Tikes Co. of Hudson, Ohio.
``From a strategic point of view, it provides us good access to a region that has historically been considered a hotbed for rotational molding,'' Newhouse said from Brainerd in a telephone interview.
Lakeland, which has a 65,000-square-foot building, also needed more manufacturing space. Wheeler Boyce has a total of 120,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space.
The combined company will employ 130 people and have sales of about $12 million, Newhouse said. That will make it ``the largest exclusive manufacturer of rotational molds in the world,'' according to Lakeland.
Both companies offer cast aluminum molds and machined molds, which use a computer numerically controlled machining center to cut molds out of a block of aluminum.
Lakeland Mold was founded in 1988. Bud Boyce, who founded Wheeler Boyce in 1975, will be involved with the company through the transition, Newhouse said.
In 2004, Robert Sly, president of Kent, Ohio-based Reduction Engineering Inc., bought a portion of Wheeler Boyce. Reduction Engineering makes pulverizers and rotomolding machines. Bud Boyce continued to own part of the company.
Lakeland Mold tried to diversify into blow molds in 2001 by offering to purchase the assets of Hobson Mould Works Inc. of Shell Rock, Iowa. But Lakeland later pulled out of the deal when the economy hit a downturn.