AarKel Tool and Die Inc. expanded its technological and geographic base by acquiring a majority interest in another Canadian automotive mold maker, Platinum Tool Technologies Inc.
AarKel President Larry Delaey said the two firms finalized the deal in early June for undisclosed terms but publicly announced it June 16 after they told employees.
Platinum's mold operation in Saltillo, Mexico, was a big attraction to AarKel, as was its focus on building injection molds for the numerous lighting lenses on passenger vehicles, explained Delaey in a phone interview.
“We had a facility in Mexico years ago but closed it in 2008 because of the poor economy,” Delaey recalled. “As of late the customer base has been going there and they wanted us to support them in Mexico.”
Platinum has had an operation in Mexico since 2010 and moved into a new facility in Saltillo in 2013. The plant has a 44-ton crane to handle large auto component molds, said Platinum President Dan Moynahan by phone from Platinum's headquarters in Windsor, Ontario.
The acquisition will help Platinum solve a skills shortage problem, Moynahan said. AarKel has an exclusivity agreement with a design and engineering firm in China which Platinum will be able to access to help keep to stringent mold building deadlines. A resurgence in automotive parts molding has left Platinum and many of its competitors shorthanded. Moynahan said some molds can be made for a blended price when Asian resources are part of a job.
Wallaceburg, Ontario-based AarKel, with sales of nearly $50 million is more than four times the size of Platinum. AarKel employs about 170. Platinum's Windsor staff is about 50 and in Mexico it employs about 27.
Deleay said AarKel has wanted to get back to Mexico and the Platinum deal will make that happen quickly, as well as provide an established, skilled workforce.
AarKel's injection tool work has been mainly for large, rotary, two-shot molds. In addition to injection molds, AarKel has a sizeable business making tooling for auto OEMs' aluminum die casting factories that churn out transmission and engine blocks.
Moynahan will continue with Platinum under the new ownership as well as executives Randy Soulliere and Scott Dell. They were the former majority owners.