Polyfab Corp., a 49-year-old Sheboygan, Wis., injection molder, has a new owner that is eager to expand its business in North America.
The buyer is the U.S. subsidiary of Daiho Industrial Co. Ltd., an Osaka, Japan-based injection molder that serves the home electronics, automotive, office equipment and housewares markets.
"Daiho is a custom thermoplastics injection molder that's looking to expand its U.S. opportunities," Polyfab President Scott Doleshaw said in a telephone interview. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Polyfab is being renamed Polyfab LLC, but no immediate changes are planned for either company, and the contracts, services and resources available to Polyfab's customers and suppliers will not be affected.
Polyfab was started in 1971 by John and Mildred Gill. They bought a small cheese factory in Sheboygan, which they expanded several times before buying a warehouse and converting it into a manufacturing plant in 1995. The plant doubled in size in 2015.
The sellers are the second generation of the Gill family: former CEO Rick Gill, who recently retired; Chief Financial Officer Carol Janssen; and Toolroom Supervisor John Gill.
Rick Gill said no one in the third generation was interested in taking over the business.
"We wanted to exit while we were still improving as leaders," he said. "We hired Scott [Doleshaw] as a replacement, and he has been running the business during the sale process and doing very well."
Polyfab offers injection molding, design and value-added services to sectors including consumer packaging, home and commercial building improvement, industrial, consumer products and health care.
Doleshaw said one of Polyfab's specialties is factory automation.
"Our current customers that we have strong relationships with are using our value-added services with the ability to design, develop and build our internal automation and robotics systems," Doleshaw said.
Rick Gill said Polyfab's strengths are its technology, quality, efficiency and people.
"Our parents taught us about respect for our people and continuous improvement. We have worked hard to hire the best people we could and to work with them to improve our technology, our quality, our efficiency and our people. And to maintain our customer service, as it has always been a part of our business culture to take care of the customer even when it takes a lot of extra effort," Gill said.
Polyfab has been talking with Daiho for about a year. The companies connected through the Investment Banking Group at Chicago-based Stout, which advised Polyfab on the deal.
"Daiho was a great fit for us; they are a strategic buyer and have a business culture very much like ours," Gill said. "It was important to us to find a buyer that would build on the legacy we were given and treat our people right."
Polyfab has stayed open through the pandemic, "and actually our business has increased," Doleshaw said. The company typically runs three shifts five days a week, and recently it has been consistently running on weekends, too.
"Our business is strong today, and we anticipate that to continue in the years to come, with potential growth rates of 10 percent annually or greater," Doleshaw said.
"Polyfab is doing very well; sales are up 17 percent," Gill added. "That is due to three things: sales of lids for disinfectant wipes, we are running seven days a week for four different customers [and] new projects."
Polyfab ranked No. 203 in the most recent Plastics News survey of North American injection molders, with 2019 sales of $27.5 million. The company has 110 employees and 34 presses in one plant. The largest press has 720 tons of clamping force.
Daiho was founded in 1937 and started molding plastic products in 1940. The company has plants in Japan, mainland Asia and Europe.
In a news release, Daiho officials said they have been eager to expand its overseas business in North America and to diversify its customer base.
"We respect Polyfab's design and engineering expertise, in-house automated manufacturing technologies and strong salesforce," Shoji Kunitomo, chairman, president and CEO of Daiho Industrial Co. Ltd., said in the release. "We are excited to work with the Polyfab team and are committed to becoming a top-ranked global plastic manufacturing company."