A $20 million-plus injection molding operation in central Mexico failed when COVID-19 struck. The defunct company's manufacturing assets are to be auctioned June 6 via a webcast.
Toronto-based Certus Automotive Inc. set up the auto parts plant in a leased facility in Querétaro in 2017. The unit was named Certus Automotive S de RL de CV. The auction had originally been set for May 12 and has been moved to June 6.
"This particular plant was a victim of timing as they recently purchased millions of dollars of new manufacturing equipment just before the economy shut down," Gary Treisman of Encino, Calif.-based Machinery Network Auctions, one of three auctioneers that will conduct the virtual sale, said in a news release.
"COVID-19 supply chain disruptions have created this opportunity at the exact time when global automotive companies are looking for ways to shorten the supply chain from Asia to North America," he said.
"Basically they [Certus] had some contracts with China to manufacture automotive parts that fell through when COVID hit," added Seth Geller, vice president of Machinery Network Inc.'s plastics division.
The sale features a dozen late-model Toshiba and Haitian single- and dual-shot injection molding machines, with clamping forces ranging from 240-1,430 tons, according to the auctioneers. The newest machine was purchased in 2019.
"They had three Haitian IMM 2K working in their workshop," José Barroso, commercial director of Haitian Huayuan Mexico Machinery S de RL de CV, told Plastics News in an email in which he described Certus as "a very nice company."
Fernando Zúñiga, a director of Hilco Global Mexico, another of the trio of auctioneers, said Certus' owners had invested $22 million to $23 million in the Querétaro facility.
He expected the sale to raise about $5 million.
A group of American partners had "acquired the rights" to the machinery to be auctioned and "the plant no longer operates and is closed," Zúñiga added by email.
The third auctioneer is Northbrook, Ill.-based PPL Group, which said that included in the sale are robotics and auxiliary equipment. In addition, there is a complete chrome plating system with water treatment equipment and over 20 tons of copper and 20 tons of nickel.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued an order on June 25, 2021, appointing Deloitte Restructuring Inc. as the receiver of the property.
Deloitte said Certus Canada operated as a global Tier 2 automotive parts manufacturer and distributor. Its main products were chrome-plated trim and injection molded parts for automotive interiors and exteriors. An associate company, Keen Point International Inc. (KPI Canada), was an Ontario corporation which, according to Deloitte, distributed molded auto parts
Deloitte said that as of June 16, 2021, Certus owed the Toronto Dominion Bank (TD) more than US$7.4 million, adding that the group also obtained financing from financial services company FGI Worldwide LLC, of New York.
The debtors, Certus President Rob Mollenhauer and Vice President James Prokopetz, had jointly controlled operations in Toronto and Mexico, which were "wound down" in early 2021, Deloitte said.