Rotational molder Forté Products has purchased Charloma Inc., another rotomolder, but one that also returns a diverse mix of processes to Forté: injection molding, thermoforming, blow molding and composites molding.
Forté Products is in Kansas City. Mo. Charloma has two factories in Kansas — a 150,000-square-foot headquarters plant in Cherryvale that does rotomolding and thermoforming, and a 162,000-square-foot plant in Burlington that does injection molding and rotomolding.
Forté announced the sale Nov. 20. Terms were not disclosed. Forté bought Charloma from Charles Fink.
CEO Bradley Robertson said Forté Products, which was formerly named Kitterman Plastics, used to do injection molding, blow molding and vacuum forming in addition to rotomolding. Kitterman, which purchased the Farmington, Mo.-based rotomolder The Molding Co. in 2005, began to focus just on rotomolding, and outsourced the other manufacturing processes, he said.
So the purchase of Charloma "actually brings back some diversification," he said.
"The intention is to keep all facilities operating as they are, and keep management in place," Robertson said. Travis DeKryger, who comes from the Forté side, will be director of operations. The chief financial officer will be Scott Morris, from Charloma.
According to Plastics News ranking information, the combined companies will have $22.5 million in rotomolding sales, with $13 million from Forté Products and estimated sales of $9.5 million for Charloma. The Charloma rotomolding sales number comes from Plastics News and industry estimates. The two companies run 12 rotomolding machines, according to the ranking.
Forté rotomolds products for the aviation, automotive and marine divisions, as well as convenience stores, food service, point-of-service displays and other markets.
Charloma's rotomolded products serve a range of markets, including lawn and garden, construction, automotive and packaging. The company generates $12 million in injection molding sales and runs nine injection presses, according to Plastics News ranking data. For thermoforming, Charloma does $6.5 million in sales and seven thermoforming machines.
Charloma was founded in 1969 by Norman and Evelyn Fink, as a manufacturer of glass-fiber reinforced bathtubs and shower enclosures. The company diversified into FRP components for recreational vehicles and bought thermoforming equipment to begin a line of small fishing boats.
In the 1980s the company moved from the shower enclosure business into producing original equipment manufactured thermoformed and FRP components, and began combining acrylic with FRP to make rigid parts, according to a history of Charloma on the company's website.
Charloma got into rotomolding in 1992.
An additional expansion came after a fire in Charloma's composites business in 1999. As a result, the company scaled back many of those operations and used insurance proceeds to add to its rotomolding and thermoforming operation, including twin-sheet and pressure-forming. Charloma also got into custom injection molding.
In 2004, Charloma bought the Burlington facility to expand its injection molding business. The company also bought two blow molding machines.
"These are two very, very fine companies, two long-tenured companies that are respected in their industries," Robertson said. "Both companies have an extremely strong management staff. All facilities are very nice facilities, and our intentions are to keep most of all personnel and management staff in place, and keep all facilities operating as they are."