Sydney — A 35-year-old, family-owned Australian molding company has been sold to a global giant.
Ralph Piggott, 65, a co-founder of Ralpet Plastics Pty. Ltd., based in the southern Sydney suburb of Kurnell, told Plastics News the sale to Precision Global, a unit of Austin, Texas-based private equity firm Peak Rock Capital LLC, is “a good marriage.”
Piggott and former business partner Peter Knigge launched Ralpet in 1981 as a small injection molder and added blow molding in 1984.
The corporate identity is a combination of their first names, but Piggott said the business will be rebranded as a unit of Precision Global.
Ralpet manufactures aerosol caps and jars and bottles for markets that include the personal care, cosmetics, industrial and food and beverage sectors. Its customer base includes aerosol fillers and contract manufacturers.
Piggott would not disclose the sale price or Ralpet's annual sales, citing a confidentiality agreement. Ralpet employs 25.
Piggott was general manager of a plastics business and Knigge a toolmaker when they went into business together. When Knigge died in 2008, his son, Andrew, now 52, inherited his father's shares and remains a working director of Ralpet. He will continue as production manager. Piggott said he was “very clued up” and has a lot to contribute to the merged business.
Piggott says the two families are “joined at the hip” but he and Peter — and, since 2008, Andrew — have “always done business on a handshake.”
Piggott will remain with the business for a contracted time, which he did not specify. “I am still happy to be involved if they think I can add value. It's a big part of my life. I don't have any real interests, except work.”
The sale is “an emotional time” for Piggott but he says it's “a good result” because combining the businesses will ensure a stronger aerosol industry in Australia.
He said Precision approached him and Andrew Knigge with an offer to buy Ralpet.
“That got me thinking because there were no family members [in the next generation] who wanted to continue [running] the business. Precision is an ideal partner for our employees and customers. There are a lot of synergies and common customers,” he said.
New York-based Precision manufactures aerosol valves, actuators and other dispensers for the personal care, household, food and beverage, industrial and pharmaceutical industries. It has facilities in 16 countries.
Its Australian facility is at Ingleburn, west of Sydney, and 50 kilometers from Ralpet's Kurnell site. It has 110 employees.
Colin Downie, Precision's Australian managing director, said no decisions have yet been made on how to combine the businesses going forward, and whether Ralpet operations will move into Precision's building.
“All options are being reviewed,” he said, adding that the purchase is “a good opportunity” for Precision to branch beyond the aerosol market. “We have 90 percent of the valve market in Australia, so we needed an acquisition to grow.”
He agreed Precision and Ralpet share many customers and said the acquisition will strengthen the Precision brand in the Australian market.