Pharmaceutical products designer and manufacturer Comar Inc. is investing in additional capacity and is on the hunt for acquisitions in pharmaceutical plastics, after divesting its glass business.
The company was founded in 1949 as TST Glass Co. and specialized in converting glass tubing for the health-care industry. In 1981, it started its plastics operations and in 1988 it acquired its current site in Buena, N.J.
During the past 10-15 years, the company has been challenged to balance the growth between glass and plastics, said General Manager Mike Ruggieri. But market changes have led the company to focus on plastics, he said in an April 2 telephone interview.
In the world of glass vial production, it now pays to be integrated, meaning a vial maker needs to make its own glass tubing.
``We didn't have the capital or need to manufacture our own tubing,'' Ruggieri said. Comar sold its glass business March 30 to Kimble Glass Inc.
That divestiture gave Comar capital that it will use to build its plastics business. The glass segment reported $24 million in sales in 2006, according to Kimble. Ruggieri would not disclose his company's total sales, but referred to it as a midsize company.
Comar's 130,000-square-foot plant uses injection and injection blow molding to make oral dispensers, plastic droppers, controlled-drop dispensers and plastic bottles and closures.
Next month, it will accept delivery of two all-electric injection blow molding machines from Meccanoplastica srl of Florence, Italy. In addition, Comar has purchased five Engel injection presses with clamping forces of 40-200 tons. The tie-barless machines will be a mix between hydraulics and all-electrics.
Those machines mark the beginning of a multiyear plan to invest in injection molding, blow molding and assembly. The company is investing in a second assembly line for its oral dispensers.
The company also may add manufacturing space.
Ruggieri is the third generation to take over the business, stepping in as general manager one year ago. The company was founded by his grandfather and two great-uncles. It is Ruggieri's goal to keep the company privately held.
Howard Snyder, vice president of Curtis Financial Group LLC in Philadelphia, said Comar has knowledgeable and experienced management, sophisticated information systems and a highly focused acquisition strategy that will help it grow.
``They have available capital,'' Snyder said. ``They're not tire-kickers. They're going to be a survivor.''
On April 2, Comar announced that it hired Plante & Moran Corporate Finance LLC of Southfield, Mich., to target acquisitions to expand its geographic reach and add manufacturing capacity.