Rogers Foam Automotive Corp. has acquired Par Foam Products Inc. to broaden its rubber and polyurethane foam product base in the U.S. and overseas.
The wholly owned subsidiary of Somerville, Mass.-based Rogers Foam Corp. purchased Buffalo, N.Y.-based Par Foam's inventory, equipment and other assets, according to Roland Neuffer, vice president and former owner of Par Foam.
Rogers did not buy Par Foam's Buffalo factory, but will continue to make products at the site for up to the next three months, he said. The facility then will close and be sold.
The 52 employees at the 100-year-old plant will either be laid off or relocated to another Rogers facility, Neuffer said.
Rogers, formed in 1947 by James Rogers Sr., purchased Par Foam to bolster an already-strong business, according to Karen Teller, Rogers' sales director. The two businesses provide different products to some of the same customers, and Rogers will pick up companies it did not serve in the past, she said.
``Most of our growth has been organic rather than through acquisitions,'' Teller said. Within the last year, ``we built a plant in Flint, Mich., because we need to be close to the auto industry and major customers.''
Teller said Rogers has plans on the drawing board to add a factory in Mexico in the first quarter of 2009. Those plans, however, will depend on the shape of the economy.
The company buys rolls, buns and sheets of rubber and foam that it uses to fabricate or manufacture products such as air engine, carbon canister and cabin air filters; heating, ventilating and air conditioning seals; materials- handling items; and noise, vibration and harshness materials for its automotive segment, which is about 10 percent of its business.
It also makes a variety of products for the industrial, military, high-tech, office, consumer, sports and leisure, transportation, and medical markets. The firm employs about 500 globally and operates six plants in the U.S. and two in Mexico.
The sale of Par Foam is the result of several conditions, ``one of which is the global imperative to get bigger and better fast,'' Neuffer said. ``This strategic fit will accomplish that goal.''
Par Foam, founded in 1981 by Neuffer and Kaushik Shah, custom manufactures gaskets, seals and filters made of polyurethane foam and sponge rubber for the automotive, medical, office, equipment, industrial, packaging and household industries. About 80 percent of its business is in automotive, Neuffer said.
``I've been in the industry for 43 years and I've seen it all,'' he said. ``We started the business with nothing and built it from there [to as many as 200 employees].
``When you're not growing, it's not good; and when your major customers are distressed, it's not good. There's constriction within the industry and the sale seemed to make sense. I'm 64 and my partner is 65, so we want the best for the company.''