Howell, Mich. — A lot can happen in three years.
For French automotive supplier Novares Group SA, the changes are not only evident in the company's name, but also in its swift short-term and steady long-term strategies.
That includes a change in ownership, acquisition activity, a companywide rebranding, a canceled initial public offering and the launch of a new investment fund.
In 2016, Novares — then called Mecaplast Group — sold its majority stake to private investment firm Equistone Partners Europe. Later that year, Mecaplast purchased Key Plastics LLC, a U.S. auto parts supplier. The move opened the door to Key Plastics' 12 manufacturing facilities worldwide, where it produced interior, exterior and under-the-hood plastic components.
Nearly a year later, in September 2017, Mecaplast-Key Plastics rebranded as Novares — a name derived from Latin's "nova" and "res," representing the company's straight-shot path to innovation and pragmatic, proactive responses to customers' needs.
"Today, we have achieved a lot," Novares CEO Pierre Boulet said during a sit-down interview Sept. 3 at the company's manufacturing facility in Howell.
Boulet attributed a big portion of Novares' more recent accomplishments first to its merger with Key Plastics — a catalyst for the big-picture strategy, which includes diversifying the product portfolio and customer base, and rebalancing the group's geographical footprint.
That move also gave momentum to another acquisition in the United States: this time, Miniature Precision Components Inc. in Walworth, Wis. MPC is a major automotive plastics supplier of injection and blow molded under-the-hood parts and assemblies for vehicle powertrains.
"We benefit from them. They benefit from us," Boulet said. "It's a win-win deal."
The acquisition of MPC, which was announced earlier this year in February, nearly doubles the size of Novares' powertrain business and extends its supply to all of the main OEMs globally. Boulet said he is "very pleased" with the acquisition so far, comparing MPC to about the size of one business unit for Novares.
"We just acquired MPC in the U.S., and we just bought the two [joint ventures] that we had in China," Boulet said. "Today, 100 percent of what we operate, it's 100 percent owned by Novares. We have about 40 percent of our activity in the U.S., about the same in Europe. We have a decent market share in China."
He added: "The footprint is rebalanced."