Wastequip Inc., which manufactures large metal waste containers and heavy-duty trash compactors, has diversified into plastics by purchasing Toter Inc., the second-largest rotational molder in North America.
Wastequip, based in Beachwood, Ohio, announced the deal April 13. Terms were not disclosed. Wastequip, which has been owned by a string of private equity firms, employs about 1,800 at 35 plants across the United States and Canada.
Toter is much smaller. The firm employs 587 at three plants - the headquarters plant in Statesville, N.C., and two factories in Acuna, Mexico - but is a giant in the world of plastics rotomolding. Toter generated 2005 sales of $98.5 million, placing second behind only toy maker Step2 Co. in Plastics News' most recent rotomolders ranking. Toter runs 17 rotomolding machines.
Toter's main products are roll-out residential refuse carts for curbside trash and recycling. The wheeled carts are designed to be used with automated garbage trucks, a technology that Toter officials claim the company invented in the 1960s.
Wastequip's markets are commercial and industrial trash handling, so buying Toter also gets Wastequip into the curbside residential market, where Toter is a strong player.
According to the Toter Web site, the company has citywide installations in Chicago; Washington; Nashville, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; Fort Worth, Texas, and many other cities. Last year, Toter won a $6 million contract to supply Akron, Ohio, with 116,000 trash and recycling carts - beating out injection molded plastic carts from three competitors.
Toter also serves the lawn and garden, medical waste, industrial, tank and consumer markets.
John Scott, Toter's chief executive officer and president, and other top management will remain with the company, according to a Wastequip news release that quoted Bob Rasmussen, president and CEO of Wastequip. Scott said the combined resources of both companies will help Toter expand its products and services.
Scott and Rasmussen did not return calls for this story.
Toter was founded in 1962, originally as a subsidiary of Rubbermaid Inc. In 1983, a management team led a leveraged buyout to take the company private.
Toter touts rotomolding as superior to injection molding for making stronger trash carts, because rotomolded carts have no molded-in stress, which can lead to failure.
Under what Toter calls its Advanced Rotational Molding process, the company makes its own hot-melt-compounded micropellets, instead of using traditional rotomolding powder. Advantages of the micropellets include excellent flow through the mold, for a more consistent and durable part, the company said.
Peter Mooney, who studies the rotomolding industry as principal of Plastic Custom Research Services in Advance, N.C., said Toter is a pioneering company. ``Even going to the micropellets, no one else has done that. They're very entrepreneurial and very efficient,'' Mooney said.
Earlier this year, Wastequip was purchased by Odyssey Investment Partners LLC, a New York private equity fund. Wastequip's products include metal containers, balers and compactors, transfer-trailers, intermodal waste containers and roll-off hoists.
Odyssey is a middle-market private equity fund with more than $1.2 billion under management. Wastequip's recent past reads like a Who's Who of private equity buyers.
Odyssey is buying Wastequip from another New York private equity firm, DLJ Merchant Banking Partners, which is part of Credit Suisse First Boston. DLJ had owned Wastequip since mid-2005, when it bought the company from CIVC Partners LP, a Chicago private equity firm.
CIVC teamed with Wastequip management to buy the company in 1999.