RÃ¶chling Engineered Plastics KG has expanded its stake in ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene by acquiring Symplastics Ltd. of Orangeville, Ontario.
The purchase complements RÃ¶chling's eastern U.S. operation in Gastonia, N.C., which makes UHMW PE sheet as large as 8 feet by 20 feet. Symplastics produces sheet as wide as 5 feet, as well as rod, tubes and profiles. It also specializes in semi-finished UHMW PE shapes.
RÃ¶chling of Haren, Germany, did not disclose terms of the Feb. 9 deal. Symplastics, formerly a privately held firm, has annual sales of about C$26 million (US$22.3 million) and employs 138, the company said in a news release. The deal includes a satellite sales and distribution operation, Symplastics Inc., in St. Peters, Mo.
Production will continue at Orangeville and Gastonia, according to a statement issued by RÃ¶chling's Gastonia operation.
RÃ¶chling expanded its Gastonia business about a year ago by installing a second gigantic compression press to make large UHMW PE sheets. The company spent $4.5 million to boost sheet capacity because of growing demand for the products, whose abrasion resistance and natural lubricity have allowed them to capture industrial markets as diverse as lumber, truck bedliners and food processing.
At the time of that expansion, officials estimated Gastonia's annual sales had reached $30 million. The firm also makes high density PE and polypropylene sheets.
RÃ¶chling national sales manager Paul Krawczyk said a related business, Machined Plastics in Mount Pleasant, Pa., does computer numerically controlled machining of UHMW PE shapes and other plastics into finished goods.
The deal was RÃ¶chling's second North American acquisition this year. In late January, it announced it bought Glastic Corp., a Cleveland-based composites supplier. Glastic logged sales of about $40 million last year from plants in Cleveland and Halesowen, England. It runs a sales office in Jalisco, Mexico. The firm's management, including General Manager Mark DiGiampietro, are expected to continue with the business. Glastic used to own a majority stake in Glastic Molding LLC, but that business was taken over by partner Cignet LLC of Tory, Mich.
The North American acquisitions and recent activity in Europe reflect RÃ¶chling Group's evolution from a conglomerate to a plastics-intensive firm. Late last year the group expanded in Europe by buying an injection molder, a profile extruder and a plastics machining business - with joint sales of $23 million.
RÃ¶chling Engineered's sales have grown to more than $440 million a year. Parent RÃ¶chling Group of Mannheim, Germany, garners annual sales of about 1 billion euros (US$1.3 billion) and North American sales of more than $200 million.