The Woodbridge Group and Inoac Corp. are building on a relationship of more than 30 years with an equal joint venture that launched at the end of January.
The technical foam facilities of Mississauga, Ontario-based Woodbridge and Inoac in North America and South America will operate under the name Woodbridge Inoac Technical Products, said Jeremy Back, vice president of sales at Inoac. That includes facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., which was previously a Woodbridge facility, along with prior Inoac sites in Moonachie, N.J.; Springfield, Ky.; and Monterrey, Mexico.
"We both have technical expertise in some of the same areas, as well as some unique areas that we'll be bringing together," Back said. "This is really bringing our two technical foaming divisions together, which were competing entities prior to this."
Inoac, based in Nagoya, Japan, already has existing joint ventures for flame lamination and automotive grade foams. The new joint venture will allow WITP to deliver further innovations on the technical foaming markets, he said.
Discussion of the joint venture started last year, and due diligence efforts were completed in January, according to Back.
Integration of the two groups is going well so far, he said, and will continue into the coming months as the teams come together.
Management for the joint venture includes members of both organizations. WITP President John Zianis comes from Woodbridge, where he was president of the formed plastics, flexible foam and lamination, engineered composites and technical foam business units. Yosuke Nakano, the executive vice president of WITP, was originally from Inoac, where he served as senior vice president, industrial business unit, Inoac USA Inc. Michael Simpson, vice president and general manager of WITP, also comes from Woodbridge, where he was the vice president and general manager for flexible foam and lamination.
WITP's sales team will be made up of members from both groups, Back said. Globally, Inoac has about 20,000 employees, and Woodbridge has about 8,000.
The joint venture does not currently include any new hires, and Back was unable to disclose plans for future hires.
The companies also are expanding their current flexible foam and lamination joint venture to include Olympic Products LLC in Greensboro, N.C. It joins El Paso Lamination LLC and SW Foam LLC in El Paso, Texas, and Saltillo Lamination S.A. de C.V. of Saltillo, Mexico. As a Woodbridge fully owned facility, it will now be a part of the joint venture, bringing with it about 90 employees, Back said.
"It just made sense to bring that into the fold of our existing operations that we had together as a 50-50 joint venture," Back said.
The flexible foam joint venture started in 2008, with each of the facilities operating under its own name. Back could not disclose any future plans for expansions or hires.
"We really want to continue in the markets that we're currently in, but expand our early collaboration and partnership with our customers to allow us to customize our foam to meet unique requirements, and realize a specialized expertise that both partners are bringing to the market collaboratively now," he said.