Flambeau Inc. has purchased Partners in Plastics LLC, an industrial blow molder in Sharon Center, Ohio, with 15 dual-head extrusion blow molding machines.
Baraboo, Wis.-based Flambeau announced the deal Dec. 23. Terms were not disclosed.
Flambeau completed an asset purchase of PIP out of receivership from KeyBank in Cleveland.
“Our intention is to keep [the Sharon Center plant] as a going concern. That's our interest and our intent,” Flambeau President Jason Sauey said.
PIP was founded in 1993, initially as a blow molder for then-startup Step2 Co., a rotational molder of toys. Since then, PIP has grown to be a major industrial blow molder serving the Midwest and Northeast in the health-care, lawn and garden, agriculture, consumer products, industrial and fuel-tank markets.
Founder and President Greg Vincent expanded the plant several times. According to the most recent Plastics News blow molders ranking, PIP generated $24.6 million in 2010 sales and employs 180. Its 15 blow molding machines have shot sizes from 3-40 pounds.
Vincent sold PIP in 2010 to a Cleveland private equity firm, Austin Capital Partners LP. Sauey said Flambeau also put in a bid at that time, but was unsuccessful.
But under Austin Capital Partners ownership, Partners in Plastics went into receivership this past fall, confirmed Darrel Austin, managing general partner of the private equity firm. Austin declined further comment.
Dennis Kebrdle, the receiver who led a three-person team overseeing PIP operations, said the firm continued to operate during the financial problems. “We had the support of the bank and Greg Vincent, the two secured creditors,” he said.
Flambeau was one of three final buyers, he said. Flambeau had sales of about $105 million for the fiscal year ended June 30.
“This acquisition allows us to better serve our contract customers with additional blow molding capacity in Ohio and the Midwest,” Sauey said. “We look to expand our support of more customers and applications.”
Vincent, who is retired and lives in Florida, said: “Flambeau is strong financially. They have plenty of resources. They bring a lot of strength and knowledge and credibility to the business and I'm very happy that it will continue to remain in operation.”
He said it was painful to watch the blow molding company fall. “I started it and it ran for 17 years, three months — we never lost money. Eighteen months after I sold it, it went into receivership,” he said. Kebrdle said PIP was profitable during the receivership.
The Sauey family's Baraboo-based Nordic Group of Cos. owns Flambeau. The deal to buy PIP comes just a few months after Flambeau acquired Mastercraft Cos. of Phoenix, which included injection molding and mold making. That purchase marked a move into medical products.
PIP's 123,000-square-foot plant is ISO 9001:2000 and UL certified.