Chicago-based Mercury Plastics Inc., a third-generation, family-owned thermoformer, is expanding to the East Coast via acquisition.
Mercury has purchased the assets of Maryland Thermoform Corp., a Baltimore-based company that focuses on thermoforming thin-gauge blisters and also has a growing fabrication department.
Mercury bought MTC from President Jim Hall and CEO Scott Macdonald. Terms were not disclosed.
The two companies had "absolutely no customer overlap," David Goldman, director of the materials management group at Mercury Plastics, said in a Nov. 24 telephone interview. He also highlighted that Mercury will be able to supply MTC with sheet.
"We're able to extrude our own materials in house," he said. "That's powerful. That's one of the biggest reasons for this deal, the synergies."
MTC had a working capital deficit, Goldman said.
Mercury President and CEO Rick Goldman said MTC will see some equipment upgrades but otherwise stay the course.
"We're going to clean the place, put our touch on it and let them continue to do their thing. They do good work," Rick Goldman said. "We're looking to share ideas and create synergies between the two companies."
He added: "In the midst of the largest pandemic in over 100 years, we are humbled to be able to step in and help this company to once again be a formidable East Coast presence and to save the jobs of the hardworking employees at MTC."
MTC has a 60,000-square-foot factory in Baltimore with 10 thermoforming lines and handles both thin- and thick-gauge sheet. The company serves government, OEM, cosmetics and consumer packaging customers. In late 2019, MTC started a fabrication department that is now known for museum-quality installations. MTC also has its own stock line of candle packaging clamshells and trays.
MTC is ISO 9001 certified and has 45 employees. The company ranked No. 112 in Plastics News' annual survey of North American thermoformers with estimated 2019 sales of $9 million.
David Goldman said MTC's sales have slipped a bit in 2020. Early on in the pandemic, the company retooled to make face shields and intubation boxes for health care workers as well as shielding for retail stores.
Mercury also saw a shift in its business because of COVID-19.
"We've been open through most of it. We shut down for a few days before we realized what 'essential' actually meant," Goldman said. Plastic sheet sales helped, especially glycol-modified PET.
"When PETG started to get scarce, a lot of our customers started reaching out," he said.
Mercury, which Plastics News has not ranked, has 28 thermoforming machines, four extrusion lines and annual sales of about $35 million, not including MTC. That would have tied for No. 52 in PN's 2020 ranking.
Mercury Plastics was founded in 1955 but has mostly kept a low profile. It has done asset purchases in the past, but this is the first time that Mercury has bought a company and kept it open as a going concern. Doing the deal was complicated by the pandemic.
"We took our first drive out there in July. It was an 11-hour drive, and we spent a day and a half there. We met everybody and got the lay of the land," Goldman said. "Except for that visit, everything was done remotely. There was a lot of building trust, building a relationship, over phone calls and Zoom calls."
Mercury makes point-of-purchase displays and a wide variety of packaging, including food, consumer brands, dunnage and OEM part trays. Before the acquisition, Mercury had two manufacturing facilities and a warehouse for a combined 309,000 square feet of space.