A management-led buyout is helping Diversatech Plastics Group LLC continue its custom molding focus, especially in the automotive area.
President and Chief Executive Officer Chuck Rivard joined with seven managers to purchase the operating assets of the Winchester, Tenn., company from Sentry Financial Corp. of Salt Lake City. The sale, for an undisclosed amount, closed March 21.
``Basically, it is the same group that was running it before. We won't change the philosophy now that we are owners,'' said Joe Russell, technical and sales manager, in a March 27 telephone interview.
Rivard owns 52 percent of the company, while Russell, Barbara Lamb-Gass, Mack Cullins, Curt Dubois, Tim Ellis, Shane Honea and Barry Whitsett also own shares. Combined, the eight have 67 years of experience with the company.
City Community Bank of Winchester helped finance the deal.
Russell said the managers are the same group that planned the company's expansion into the automotive area. Diversatech hired four employees recently, bringing the total to 81, and officials plan to fill four or five more openings.
Diversatech has pursued the Tier 2 automotive business in recent years, producing injection molded parts and assemblies. Automotive has grown from 50 percent of the firm's sales in 2002 to more than 90 percent currently, primarily because of the increasing number of automotive companies and suppliers in the surrounding area. The firm makes many parts that end up on Nissan, Honda and Saturn vehicles, as well as other makes.
Russell added that Diversatech will continue to supply its longtime base of nonautomotive customers.
The company started out in the shoe business in 1954, when it was known as Brockton Sole and Plastics. It moved to its current location in 1974. As the shoe business moved offshore, the firm moved into custom molding. It changed its name to Diversatech in 1998.
Diversatech runs 20 injection molding presses, with clamping forces of 50-720 tons.