The protective case industry now has an even bigger player.
Pelican Products Inc., which bills itself as the world leading manufacturer of plastic injection molded protective cases, is expanding its line with the purchase of rotational molder Hardigg Industries Inc. of South Deerfield, Mass.
Pelican Products, based in Torrance, Calif., with backing from Behrman Capital, a private equity firm with offices in New York and San Francisco, purchased Hardigg for about $200 million.
``In essence, we are combining the largest rotomolder of protective cases with the largest injection molder of protective cases,'' said Lyndon Faulkner, Pelican president and chief executive officer, in a Jan. 13 telephone interview. ``Our model is to grow the business.''
Faulkner said that the two companies have competed in some areas, and the combination will have many synergies and complementary lines.
In Hardigg, Pelican gets a bigger presence in rotomolded transportation systems and a much bigger share of the defense market.
Faulkner said Hardigg employs about 800 at its facilities in South Deerfield and in Greenfield, Ind. It also has a joint venture in Paris.
Hardigg was founded in 1954 and produces rotomolded shipping cases used by the military, public safety officers, industrial users and consumers. Pelican plans to continue the Hardigg name to identify its high-end shipping cases.
``By joining the Pelican family we can offer opportunities to employees, expand our product line and enhance our global reputation. We're excited that the combination of our companies creates a global industry leader well-poised for continued growth,'' said Hardigg Chairman Jamie Hardigg in a statement.
Hardigg will retire from day-to-day management responsibilities but serve on the Pelican board of directors.
Bill Hamer will continue to serve as the chief operating officer of Hardigg, while John Padian remains COO of Pelican. Both will report to Faulkner.
``An integration team will get together next week,'' Faulkner said.
The purchase of Hardigg was the third in six months for Pelican, according to Faulkner. He said the company also has purchased a United Kingdom LED lighting company, and an Australian distribution network.
Pelican Products operates in three distinct markets. Injection molding of protective cases accounts for about 70 percent of sales, but it also makes flashlights and advanced lighting systems.
The combination of companies will give Pelican more than 1,500 employees and operations in 12 countries. It will have 22 offices globally with six manufacturing facilities. The company expects its sales will approach $500 million in the next few years.
Faulkner said that the need for protective cases and a one-stop solution continues to grow. Companies had used traditional materials, like wood, to protect and move items. Now, systems are designed to protect anything from weapons to computers and medical components.
Pelican, which was founded in 1976, makes products that are particularly sensitive to extreme situations. Faulkner said that the company is advancing LED lighting for use by firefighters and first responders.
He said LED systems are used to light up an emergency area quickly and are replacing older systems of a heavier battery-operated apparatus or generator setup.
It all fits into place with Hardigg, which makes cases that protect from shock, vibration, thermal environments and exposure to chemical agents.