Precision injection mold maker Marland Mold Inc. is merging with French toolmaker Curtil SA in a move that will allow both companies to expand their product lines and geographical reach, and will be yet another ownership evolution for Marland.
The firms announced the merger agreement Oct. 22, saying that the North American operations will take the name Marland a Curtil Co.
Details of the deal were not announced, but Pittsfield, Mass.-based Marland will shift from employee ownership. The merged company will be based in St. Claude, France.
We've been going on [employee ownership] for 18 years, and I think the concept itself of employee-owned ran its course, said Kleber Salazar, Marland marketing director, in a telephone interview.
We need to be competitive globally, and this was a strategic decision.
Marland was founded in 1946 and sold to VCA Corp. in 1968. It passed through corporate hands until it became part of Tredegar Industries Inc.'s tooling group. In 1992, Richmond, Va.-based Tredegar said it wanted to close or sell the Pittsfield plant, and employees arranged a buyout.
The company's biggest customers are in the packaging closures business, and it has developed a thin-wall bottle program that has brought it global business. Half of its sales are now outside the U.S., shipping molds to China, Brazil, Australia and Europe. Marland bucked the industry trend during the recession and saw its best sales year in 2009, Salazar said.
However, its sales opportunities were hampered by a lack of production beyond Pittsfield.
Curtil began in 1929, machining tools for the diamond-cutting industry. It expanded into injection mold toolmaking in 1963 and now has manufacturing in Valencia, Calif., and St. Claude. It specializes in high-precision parts for the aerospace industry and other specialty products.
This [combination of customers] will make us much more diverse, Salazar said. The combination is a powerful mix.
The unified company will have a 20-employee research and development center designed to enhance new products in the U.S. and Europe, and to provide greater access for Marland's customers already in Europe.
The merged operation will also be looking to expand manufacturing in Asia.
Many of our customers are multinational, Salazar said.
They have footprints all over the world. There has never been one supplier that covers both areas in such a way that is meaningful.
Marland and Curtil officials will be meeting with customers during the K show to discuss the merger.