Injection molder Indiana Plastics Inc. and mold maker Kruis Mold & Engineering Inc. have been sold to Elk Grove, Ill.-based investment firm Thunderbird LLC.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Going forward, the two sister companies, which operate out of the same 30,000-square-foot complex of three buildings in Elkhart, Ind., are now Indiana Plastics LLC and Kruis Mold LLC.
Both companies were jointly owned by siblings and second-generation owners Jeff Kruis, James Kruis and Marla Williams.
Thunderbird has retained the management team, which includes Indiana Plastics Plant Manager Chris Burkhead, Engineering Manager Jeff Kruis, Tooling Manager James Kruis, Production Manager Brant Williams, Quality Manager Josh Jaworski and Maintenance Manager Bill Gilvin.
Burkhead said in a June 28 email interview that the group plans to operate business as usual and will add resources as needed, citing three job openings posted already for two off-shift support personnel and a plastics engineer.
Through the acquisition, Indiana Plastics and Kruis Mold also have access to an additional sales force and marketing group as well as corporate human resources and financial resources across the entire Thunderbird group, he explained.
"Both companies are strategic acquisitions for Thunderbird as we look to invest in American companies, which manufacture domestically, but also strive to attain larger market share globally in their respective industries," Burkhead said.
"The acquisition will also expand our product offering to our current customer base," he added. "Growth through acquisition and organic growth is our fundamental strategy."
Indiana Plastics, which employs 51, manufactures a variety of products for the automotive, agriculture, consumer, electronics, industrial and medical industries, among other market segments. The company has 12 injection molding machines — the newest of which are all-electric Niigata machines, Burkhead said — with clamping forces ranging from 85-660 U.S. tons.
Other capabilities include assembly, in-mold decorating, high-volume molding, multimaterial molding and insert molding as well as product design, prototyping and testing.
Kruis Mold builds and repairs custom tools and molds. The company has 12 employees.
The company started in 1958 as a grinding business by brothers John and Herman Kruis before evolving into the two sister companies.
"Indiana Plastics has grown an average of 15 percent annually for the better part of the last decade with no debt," Burkhead said. "The previous owners felt it was time to align our business with a team and resources that could help take us to the next level of growth and development."
As part of Thunderbird's portfolio of manufacturing companies, Indiana Plastics can cross manufacture products with Metal Impact LLC, a manufacturer of impact extruded and machined metal parts, and F&B MFG LLC, which makes hydroformed and machined metal parts. Kruis Mold can provide mold and tooling support.
Metal Impact has locations in Elk Grove and New Albany, Miss. F&B MFG is in Phoenix.
In January, Plastics News reported Thunderbird had purchased Shelbyville, Ind.-based injection molder Williams Industries Inc. in partnership with Westbourne Capital Partners, a private equity firm in Chicago. Now named Williams Plastics LLC, it has 19 injection molding machines, the majority of which are from Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.
The acquisition marked Thunderbird's first investment in a plastics company.
"The Thunderbird team plans to continue aggressive growth with plastics companies in the portfolio," Burkhead said. Indiana Plastics is the firm's second plastics injection molder in the Thunderbird portfolio.
Thunderbird was formed by Kevin Prunsky and John Newell after the sale of Pollution Control Industries Inc., a waste management firm founded by Prunsky in 1986.