Plastics and rubber extrusion firm Unitek Sealing Solutions Corp. is making a strong move into injection molding and adding 39 jobs after being acquired by German automotive supplier JÃ¤ger Group.
The acquisition and expansion were announced Aug. 5 by La Porte, Ind.-based Unitek, which now will be known as Jaeger-Unitek Sealing Solutions Inc.
No purchase price was disclosed in the deal, in which Hanover, Germany-based JÃ¤ger is buying Unitek from Jeff Bernel, who founded the firm in 2006. Bernel was serving as Unitek's chairman but was not active with the firm.
The 39 new jobs will be added over the next three years to handle new injection molding work that Jaeger-Unitek will do for JÃ¤ger automotive customers, according to Jaeger-Unitek President Mark Dilley. Six new Engel injection presses four 260- and two 150-ton models for both plastics and rubber work will be installed by mid-2011. The first of the new machines is set to arrive in November, Dilley said.
JÃ¤ger is a big supplier to the German automotive market, and their existing customers wanted them to make parts in the U.S. as well, Dilley said. That's why [JÃ¤ger] was interested in us.
Previously, Unitek had operated some small injection presses, but had done a majority of its work in extruded plastics and rubber parts. The firm generates about 85 percent of its sales from the automotive sector, with about 70 percent of that amount done for Japanese automakers in the U.S., according to Dilley.
The new jobs consisting of production workers and support staff almost will double the size of the workforce Unitek had in La Porte before the acquisition.
Two new liquid nitrogen deflashers and a pair of new automated robotic inspection systems also will be installed at the firm's 150,000-square-foot plant. The new injection presses and other machines will add up to an overall investment of almost $4 million.
As a result of the expansion plans, Jaeger-Unitek will receive up to $250,000 in performance-based tax credits and $20,000 in training grants from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. The tax credits last for 10 years.
Unitek posted sales of $5 million in 2009 and is on track to hit the $7 million mark this year. The firm generates about 60 percent of its sales in plastics, with the remainder in rubber.
Dilley said new sales from the acquisition and expansion could result in Jaeger-Unitek's sales number doubling by 2012.
It's always good to hear a positive growth story, he added.