Troy, Mich.-based National Composites LLC, a manufacturer of fiber-reinforced plastic and thermoformed products, has acquired Able Manufacturing & Assembly LLC in Joplin, Mo., to expand its molding capabilities, market reach and geographic distribution.
The deal marks the fifth transaction in two years for National Composites, a family- and employee-owned company that has been following a strategy to grow through acquisitions that bring new capabilities and talent.
The addition of privately held Able gives National Composites the ability to mold "extremely large" components, increases its presence in the transportation market and allows it to enter the wind energy market, according to National Composites CEO Adam Fenton.
"Able is molding parts up to 40 feet long. That's a pretty rare capability for composites," Fenton said in a phone interview.
Founded in 1954, Able has a strong presence in the wind energy market and transportation market for trucks, specialty vehicles, rail and construction and agricultural vehicles and equipment.
The acquired company developed the Able Body Sleeper Cab in the 1970s, giving truck drivers the ability to rest in their own vehicles. Business boomed and Able expanded into vehicle interiors, dashboards, door panels, consoles, storage lockers and tool bins.
National Composites will retain Able's 200 employees, who work out of a 320,000-square-foot facility. The acquisition essentially doubles National Composite's manufacturing footprint to 500,000 square feet, its workforce to 420 and its sales, Fenton said.
"We serve the transportation market right now but not to the scale that Able does," Fenton said. "A good portion of the subway systems in the U.S. have Able components. Think of the front face where windshields and lights go. That housing is fiberglass and the body panels that line the interior of the passenger and driver cabs are composites."