Custom and proprietary injection molder Sapona Plastics LLC will close an operation it bought in October.
The Asheboro, N.C., firm bought the thermoplastic division of Premier Molded Plastics Co. in Leland, N.C., for undisclosed terms.
Sapona President Dean Lail said he expects the Leland operation will cease about Dec. 1. So far about 40 employees have been laid off in Leland and the rest will follow. Lail had no comment on whether any of the Premier staff will be hired, but former Premier owner Steve Rammrath will join Sapona as vice president of sales and technical service.
``Both companies have been struggling due to the economy and foreign competition,'' Lail said in a telephone interview. ``By combining them, they will be in a much stronger position to go forward.''
The deal boosts Sapona's annual sales from $6 million to more than $10 million, Sapona said in a news release.
Premier molds for telecommunications, electrical distribution, appliance and recreational markets. It complements Sapona's extensive brush molding and its diverse proprietary and custom molding operations for personal care, consumer, construction, automotive and other markets. It is ISO 9000 certified and has an ISO 13485 medical device certification.
``We are pleased that the new customers have already given our systems very high marks during on site audits approving the transition,'' Leal said in a news release.
Sapona will keep four of Premier's 18 injection presses. They are a 720-ton machine, two 50 tonners and a 220-ton press. They extend Sapona's press range from 50-720 tons. The rest of the presses will be sold. Sapona also will expand its quality inspection laboratory capabilities.
The expanded business will run all day, seven days a week. Saponal operates 14 injection presses and also has four brush bristling machines and two glue assembly lines. It employs about 55.
Premier had 18 injection presses and 45 employees in a 26,000-square-foot facility. Secondary services included insert molding, assembly, pad printing, machining and ultrasonic welding.
Not included in the deal was Premier's thermoset molding business that supplies electrical parts. The long-term fate of the nine-person, three-press thermoset operation is undecided.
Premier's legal name is Berguda Holdings LLC. Helping in the deal was Terry Minnick of Molding Business Services of Florence, Mass.
Sapona Plastics is a joint venture between the Lail family and Sapona Manufacturing Co. Inc., a Cedar Falls, N.C., textile yarn manufacturer founded in 1836.