Thermoformer Penda Corp. has a new owner, one that believes the company has positioned itself for growth despite intense problems with its raw material prices and lower sales for the pickup trucks that provide the platform for its most recognized product.
``We feel that this is an opportunity we couldn't pass by,'' said Ki Mixon, a vice president with Cleveland-based private financial group Resilience Capital Partners, which completed its purchase of Penda for an undisclosed amount Aug. 2.
Others must have felt the same optimism at one time, Mixon said during an Aug. 3 telephone interview, though Penda has been shuffled from one private owner to the next four times since 2000. Its most recent owner, a consortium of institutional investors, bought the company in 2006.
But Resilience sees some real long-term potential, Mixon said.
Portage, Wis.-based Penda is best known for making truck bedliners, but higher gas prices have resulted in a slowing of truck sales, while the cost of high density polyethylene has pushed up the firm's material costs.
Mixon pointed to moves by the management team led by President and Chief Executive Officer Ulf Buergel that have allowed the company to fight back, come up with new products and enter new markets.
Early this year, Penda introduced a thermoplastic tonneau cover, which offers a lighter-weight option to fiberglass and other composite truck-bed covers. In 2006, the company created a water management unit to produce and sell a thermoformed HDPE channel and ditch-lining system for use in irrigation and erosion-control projects under the trade name SmartDitch.
Penda's Premier Solutions unit is seeking custom molding possibilities in a variety of industries.
``Resilience supports Penda's growth strategy and will allow us to invest the necessary resources in strengthening our competition position within the automotive, water management and custom thermoforming markets,'' Buergel said.
Resilience has other plastics operations in its portfolio, including Composite Technologies of America Inc., an Aurora, Ohio-based firm made up of the assets of Omega Pultrusions Inc., purchased in 2006.