Rapid Granulator has a new owner, Lifco AB of Enköping, Sweden.
IPEG Inc. finalized the Rapid Granulator sale to Lifco on Feb. 18, IPEG CEO Chris Keller confirmed in a phone interview.
Rapid Granulator will be headed by Toni Reftman, managing director of Eldan Recycling, a Faaborg, Denmark, subsidiary of Lifco. Eldan globally supplies recycling equipment and systems for tires, cables, refrigerators, municipal solid waste and other scrap materials, but it did not have its own granulator product line. Rapid Granulator has specialized in size reduction for in-plant plastic recycling.
Reftman had been employed with Rapid Granulator from 1995 to 2004 before joining Eldan.
Lifco reported Rapid Granulator's sales in 2014 were about 300 million Swedish Krona ($36 million). Rapid Granulator is being consolidated into Lifco's Environmental Technology division, which had sales of about SK584 million ($70.2 million) in 2013, mostly due to Eldan, also part of that division. The environmental division in turn is part of Lifco's Systems Solution unit.
Keller said IPEG will be able to continue offering Rapid Granulator products through IPEG's Conair business. Not included in the deal was IPEG's Republic Machine business, a producer of single-shaft shredders based in Louisville, Ky. IPEG acquired Republic Machine in 2013 and made it a Rapid Granulator division but it now becomes an IPEG subsidiary.
“Rapid Granulator adds a new attractive product range to Lifco's existing portfolio,” stated Lifco spokesman Äse Lindskog in an email correspondence. “Rapid Granulator has established themselves as a leading global manufacturer of granulators for in-plant recycling of plastic waste.”
Lindskog would not comment on why Lifco did not seek the Republic Machine business.
Keller said Lifco's offer was unsolicited and attractive. The purchase is “an excellent fit for the [Rapid] business and its employees,” he explained in a news release.
IPEG had owned Rapid Granulator for about 16 years. Rapid Granulator was established in Bredaryd, Sweden, in 1942 and continues to do most of its manufacturing in Sweden. It employs about 160 and has subsidiaries in Cranberry Twp, Pa., Germany, France, Italy, Singapore, China and the Middle East. Its employees will continue with Rapid Granulator except for former CEO Kirk Winstead, who will take on other responsibilities within IPEG. Rapid Granulator sells to customers in 150 countries.
Keller said IPEG will invest the proceeds from the Rapid Granulator sale into new product development in its other subsidiaries, including auxiliary equipment major Conair and Thermal Care, a leading producer of industrial process cooling solutions. North America will continue to be a priority market for Cranberry Twp-based IPEG but it also will “invest heavily in greater Asia,” he noted.
Lindskog stated Rapid Granulator met key criteria in attracting Lifco's interest. It is a leader within its niche. It has stable operations and is profitable. It also has an “attractive position in the value chain without being dependent on specific suppliers or customers.”
Lifco CEO and President Fredrik Karlsson set the company on an expansion program soon after he joined the firm in 1998. Its sales have grown to more than SK6 billion a year ($720 million) and global employment tops 3,000 in 30 countries. Lifco's other business areas are dental, and demolition & tools.
Keller said by phone that a financial reorganization of Rapid Granulator in 2010 was focused on typical balance sheet adjustments and did not affect product lines. Rapid Granulator announced its intent to buy Avian (Shanghai) Machinery at NPE 2009 but the potential deal was not consummated.