Engineered Plastic Components Inc. has acquired the assets of two injection molding facilities and an engineering center previously operated by Wilbert Plastic Services Inc.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The transaction, which officially closed April 15, includes Wilbert's 202,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Bellevue, Ohio; a 250,000-square-foot facility in Lebanon, Ky.; and an engineering center in Troy, Mich.
The Bellevue site has 70 injection molding machines with clamping forces from 100-2,360 tons and 225 employees. The Lebanon facility has 45 presses ranging from 150-2,600 tons and employs 350. The engineering center has 10 employees. All employees will be retained.
Wilbert Plastic Services is ranked No. 44 on Plastics News' North American injection molder rankings, with estimated sales of $260 million in 2017. The company is based in Belmont, N.C. It has two thermoforming plants and two injection molding facilities in the United States.
Wilbert Plastic Services President and CEO Greg Botner did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment.
Both manufacturing facilities predominantly serve the automotive and appliance industries. Combined, the two facilities are slated to generate around $100 million in sales, according to Reza Kargarzadeh, president and CEO of Grinnell, Iowa-based EPC. He said the two facilities will get EPC closer to $300 million in annual sales.
"The plan is to expand on what they are doing there," Kargarzadeh said in a phone interview. "We have some medical customers that we are going to be putting into our Ohio [facility] in addition to the business that they've got right now, which is automotive interior trim and also appliances."
In Kentucky, Kargarzadeh said EPC will add work for consumer products.
"They have brought the plants a long way, so what we're going to do at EPC, we're going to build on that," he said. "We're going to bring in additional and newer all-electric machines."
Kargarzadeh said an additional 25-30 presses could be added within the next two years to replace aging equipment.
EPC, which is celebrating 25 years in business, is No. 49 on PN's annual ranking of injection molders. The company had sales of $205 million in 2017. With the acquisition, EPC now has 14 manufacturing operations in the U.S. and Mexico, plus its corporate office and an engineering center. The company employs 2,000 across those locations.
Last June, Wilbert Plastic Services announced it was investing roughly $9.6 million in equipment and facility upgrades at the Lebanon plant in preparation of the 2020 Ford Escape launch. The injection molder makes interior hard trim, such as quarter panels and pillars, for the compact crossover.
Ford Motor Co., the facility's primary customer, invested $12.2 million in tooling and assembly fixtures for the program. The two companies have had a business relationship since 2008.
Kargarzadeh said that relationship will continue under EPC's ownership. The injection molder is already a Tier 1 supplier to General Motors, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Tesla, he said.
"But we have never been a Tier 1 directly to Ford Motor Co., so this is an opportunity that will also give us a Tier 1 position with Ford," he added.
So far, EPC has had two meetings with the automaker since the acquisition was finalized. The company is on track to launch the new Escape platform, which should be in full production this September.
"We have had record sales in automotive in North America — 17-plus-million vehicles year after year, the past couple years. It has been really great for the automotive industry," Kargarzadeh said. "I think there could be a little bit of cooldown coming in 2020 or 2021, but as a company, we have always enjoyed staying diversified … and that is part of our formula."