Huizenga Group has acquired profile extruder Nicholas Plastics Inc.
Privately held Huizenga, a holding company based in Grand Rapids, Mich., plans to keep Nicholas' two plants open: a 225,000-square-foot headquarters facility in Allegan, Mich., and a plant in Monterrey, Mexico. Both make extrusions for automotive, appliance and office furniture markets.
The deal's financial terms were undisclosed.
``Our strategy is to diversify the customer base,'' said Chris Blanker, Huizenga senior vice president and the newly installed president at Nicholas.
He said Nicholas was hurt by a recent strike at Detroit-based American Axle & Manufacturing Inc. that spilled over into the work schedules of General Motors Corp. assembly plants. That downturn has convinced Huizenga officials to find a broader base of automotive customers for Nicholas.
``It was a symptom that they were not diverse enough to weather the strike,'' Blanker said in a recent telephone interview.
He said Nicholas will seek new business with Asian transplants like Honda and Toyota. The firm also may further diversify its nonautomotive work, he said.
``The company has a great product and excellent technology, and a strong group of employees,'' he added.
Nicholas logged sales of $38 million for 2006, according to Plastics News' pipe, profile and tubing ranking. The firm had employed 300, but staff levels were nearly halved because of the auto downturn.
Huizenga manages diverse manufacturers in western Michigan. Nicholas is its second plastics operation. Huizenga already owns Monroe LLC, which makes injection molded pointers for automotive instrument clusters.
Nicholas officials were unavailable for comment.