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Illinois-based Commercial Plastics buys Minnesota injection molder

Mundelein, Ill.-based Commercial Plastics Co. has purchased the assets of Imperial Plastics Inc., a Lakeville, Minn.-based custom injection molder.

Terms were not disclosed. Imperial Plastics is a diverse thermoplastic molder with insert, gas-assisted and structural foam molding technologies. It has a 400,000-square-foot plant in Mora, Minn., and a leased headquarters plant in Lakeville.

Imperial Plastics was founded in 1968 and serves the agricultural, building materials, outdoor recreation and industrials end markets. It had a third plant in Mankato, Minn., which it opened in 2014 but closed in early 2017 after it lost contracts from one of its major customers who moved production outside the United States.

Commercial Plastics dates back to 1940 and is owned by brothers Bill and Matt O’Connor. It has plants in Mundelein; Waverly, Neb.; and Kenosha, Wis. According to the company’s website, it has 130 presses ranging from 55-2,000 tons of clamping force and about 320 employees.

CEO Matt O’Connor told a local newspaper in Mora, Minn., that both Imperial Plastics plants will remain open. He added that the acquisition will double its number of employees and square footage. Commercial Plastics did not respond to questions from Plastics News.

Commercial acquired its Kenosha plant in 2014 when it purchased the assets of Xten Industries LLC. It bought the Waverly plant in 2015 when it bought certain assets of Lenco Inc.- PMC.

Imperial had also grown through acquisition. The Lakeville-based company bought Mora-based Engineered Polymers Corp. in 2014.

Imperial was No. 86 in Plastics News‘ 2019 ranking of North American injection molders, with estimated sales of $85 million. Commercial Plastics ranked No. 90, with estimated sales of $80 million.

Chicago-based Stout advised Imperial Plastics on the sale.

“Imperial Plastics brings an array of unique capabilities and diversification to Commercial Plastics, which has established itself as a leader in the injection molding industry,” David Evatz, managing director and head of Stout’s plastics industry practice, said in a news release.

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A six-way tie in ranking for injection molders

We’re taking a look behind the numbers for this week’s Plastics News ranking of the Top 100 North American injection molders. Actually, 103 companies made the cut with a six-way tie at the $70 million cut off.

This group represents combined related sales of $29.3 billion. While that number is above last year by a tiny fraction of 1 percent, the average sales per firm is down 0.8 percent. Why? Mostly due to declines in the automotive market in 2019.

Those companies were hit again with shutdowns due to the pandemic — which aren’t reflected in 2019 numbers — so it’s a tough market, no doubt.

What about other markets? Were they up? Well, in a way, yes, and in a way, no. Packaging and custom molders saw increases, but medical and industrial suppliers not so much. Acquisitions were still the best way to increase sales. Seven acquisitions are reported in the top 100 alone, with more to come in next week’s listing of smaller companies.

The biggest news was Berry Global Group’s purchase of RPC Group plc in June 2019. Combining their injection molding operations with previously ranked Letica Corp. has them shooting back up to No. 1, having moved down the ranking in 2012, when the automotive market was on the rise and Magna International Inc. took over the spot. Magna has since sold its interiors business to Grupo Antolin-Irausa SA.

Businesses are always looking for more ways to be more profitable. In our research, we saw some plant consolidations and rebranding. That means there’s now the renamed Jabil Healthcare. Some financial footwork was also afoot, with Novares Group SA emerging from receivership and Techniplas LLC filing for Chapter 11 protection.

Resin prices dropped a bit among the top materials. ABS, nylon, polycarbonate and polyethylene saw smaller declines of 2-9 percent, however, polypropylene showed the biggest slide at 19.2 percent.

Let’s get back to that pandemic thing, A very non-scientific look at our story listings has 236 mentions of COVID-19 in the eight weeks between the end of February and mid-June. I can’t tell if the disruptions helped or hurt our research.

On one hand, we heard from some companies that had not responded in the past. But at other firms, some communication departments were out of sync with our regular avenues to update information.

Very few of our telephone calls to company headquarters were successful, and our best responses came from email and cell phones.

This leads me into another of my public service announcements, this time to website editors: Please double check the contact email listed online, nothing is worse than generic mailboxes like [email protected] or [email protected] bouncing back as undeliverable. If you weren’t contacted for this ranking or any type of recent special coverage, please let us know how best to reach you.

And finally, congratulations to Tessy Plastics Corp. for breaking into the top 25 this year.

Want more information? Visit our top 100 ranking online at http://www.plasticsnews.com/rankings/injection-molders. And watch next week’s issue for the rest of this year’s injection molders’ ranking.

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