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Clarion buys assets of former CNI Plastics

By: Catherine Kavanaugh

January 25, 2019

Injection molder Clarion Technologies Inc., which is based in Holland, Mich., bought selected assets and contracts of the former CNI Plastics LLC in Charlotte, Mich., to increase capacity as it pursues a growth plan expected to create 250 jobs this year.

The deal gives Clarion new customers and products to be produced at each of its three manufacturing plants, which are in Greenville, Mich.; Anderson, S.C.; and Garland, Texas, Clarion President John Brownlow said in a phone interview.

The new products are predominately seating components for the just-in-time plants of Plymouth, Mich.-based automotive seating supplier Adient plc, Brownlow said.

"This acquisition helps us expand regionally in Texas, South Carolina and Michigan," he said. "We will be able to better serve our end customer, in most cases within four hours, once we go through this transition."

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

CNI Plastics had been acquired by Adient in 2017 through its $360 million purchase of Futuris Group. However, CNI's injection molding capabilities did not match Adient's core product portfolio, so in December 2018 Adient announced plans to sell the injection molding equipment and contracts and close the Charlotte plant.

The 212 Adient employees learned Dec. 14 that they would be laid off. Adient's notice filed with the state says layoffs are expected to start March 1 and be completed in May.

However, Brownlow said the jobs are being redistributed more than lost and that all the laid-off workers will have a chance to work at a Clarion plant.

"We will be expanding in all three of our regional locations," he said. "We're trying to promote to the people currently working in Charlotte that they can be part of our local facility, which is in Greenville, or move to one of our other two facilities."

Clarion's capital investment will be distributed among its plants. The CNI Plastics deal included 15 injection molding machines, which brings Clarion's total to 125, and auxiliary equipment that will support additional business.

Clarion molds components for the home appliance, consumer products, automotive, medical and HVAC industries. Brownlow said automotive products include interior seating, armrests, vanity components and speaker grills.

"Most automotive Tier 1s have JIT [just-in-time] facilities close to the OE [original equipment] manufacturing plant, and that's who we supply, JIT facilities," he added.

Clarion has more than 350,000 square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space and operates 125 injection molding machines with clamping forces ranging from 25-2,000 tons.

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based BlueWater Partners, a middle market investment banking firm, served as the financial adviser for Clarion.