Bailiff Enterprises Inc., which custom-fabricates plastic storage tanks, has sold its rotational molding factory in Fairfield, Texas, to tank giant Norwesco Inc., but is expanding its custom rotomolding business with two new plants.
The Fairfield plant becomes Norwesco's 16th rotomolding factory. Terms were not disclosed.
Owner and founder Dean Bailiff said it made sense to get out of mass-produced tanks and focus on molding niche-market tanks made of materials such as polyvinylidene fluoride and polypropylene - tanks that resist high temperatures and chemicals. The operation also will mold other large custom parts, he said.
``We found that custom rotomolding blends in with the specialty manufacturing of tanks,'' Bailiff said. ``We're more interested in limited production.''
Bailiff Enterprises has opened a 15,000-square-foot plant in Springfield, Mo., that focuses on custom molding. A shuttle machine is running in the plant, which is an existing industrial building.
The company also announced plans to build a second custom molding plant in early 2007, in the Houston area. Officials are narrowing down a list of properties now. Dean Bailiff said the company will build a 20,000-square-foot factory that could be expanded in a few years to 50,000 square feet.
Houston-based Bailiff Enterprises has been a rotomolder only since 2000, when it opened the Fairfield plant. But the 25-year-old firm is well-known in plastic tanks as a major fabricator and distributor.
The firm fabricates and modifies the basic tanks supplied by Norwesco and other rotomolders, by adding customized components such as fittings, valves, pumps, fill lines, sight gauges and internal baffles.
``We take a generic tank and we do all the alterations to it to make it usable to the end customer,'' Bailiff said.
The company, which employs 22, does business in all 50 states and several other countries. Bailiff declined to provide sales.
Norwesco is much bigger. With sales of $83 million for the fiscal year ended June 30, the St. Bonifacius, Minn.-based company is the fourth-largest rotational molder in North America, according to Plastics News' ranking.
The Fairfield plant is Norwesco's first in Texas, according to its Web site.
Thomas Smith, Norwesco's president and chief executive officer, could not be reached for comment. A news release announcing the deal said Norwesco will continue making Bailiff-brand tanks, plus Norwesco's own line of tanks, at the Texas operation.
To serve customers in northern Texas, Bailiff Enterprises has set up a distribution center in Fairfield that will begin operations in late October.