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Datwyler to acquire Columbia, expand sealing presence

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Columbia Vandalia, Ohio.
Earlier this year, Columbia moved all of its operations to this 98,000-sq.-ft. facility in Vandalia, Ohio.

VANDALIA, Ohio—Datwyler Group will acquire Keystone Holding Inc. and its operating company, Columbia Engineered Rubber Inc., to expand the presence of its Sealing Solution Division in the U.S.

Columbia specializes in the engineering, manufacturing, sales and distribution of custom rubber components. The company has a strong base in the U.S. automotive parts sector.

It also has a long-standing relationship with Datwyler Sealing Solutions (Anhui) Co. Ltd., formerly Zhongding Sealtech, which was acquired by Datwyler in 2012 and is a major part of the sealing division. In fact, a Datwyler spokesman said, Columbia currently distributes sealing components from Datwyler's plant in China.

The transaction was expected to close at the end of October. Neither company disclosed financial details.

Mark and Bryan Bueltel, who together with their families own Vandalia-based Keystone Holdings and Columbia, will continue to manage and develop the Columbia business alongside the firm's current management team.

Its work force of about 70 along with the company's plant in Vandalia, located close to the Dayton International Airport, also will be retained, the Datwyler spokesman said. “The acquisition will not bring any change in the day-to-day work for the employees.”

By acquiring Columbia, Altdorf, Switzerland-headquartered Datwyler “is reinforcing its sales, distribution and engineering organization for the American automotive industry and other industrial markets,” he said. “We will be closer to the customers and can, for example, provide local prototyping or, if customers wish so, even local production.”

Merging with Datwyler is an excellent situation for both companies, according to Bryan Bueltel, who serves as co-president of Columbia. “The Datwyler Group's culture and innovative approach to the marketplace aligns seamlessly with our organization,” he said.

“This acquisition will promote continued growth in the capabilities and technologies we offer our customers.”

One of the biggest strengths of Columbia, which was founded in 1980, “is the ability to work closely with its customers to understand their application requirements and develop innovative solutions driven through materials, manufacturing technology and product design to help improve the products they bring to market,” Bueltel said.

In early 2014, the company moved all of its operations about five miles to its present 98,000-sq.-ft. plant in Vandalia from a smaller facility in Dayton, Ohio.

The Vandalia site houses the company's headquarters, manufacturing, engineering and production departments.

Adding Columbia's experience and knowledge in engineering and manufacturing for other industries will be a major plus for Datwyler, the company spokesman said.

The firm's sealing division intends “to apply its sealing know-how to other industries in addition to our core industries of health care, automotive, civil engineering and consumer goods, and the Columbia team aligns well with this strategy,” he said.

Together, Columbia and Datwyler are the ideal combination to work with the automotive industry in the U.S., he said.

Columbia has a proven sales and distribution organization, he noted, to go along with long standing relationships in the segment.

“Datwyler adds production facilities located in the three foremost economic regions: NAFTA, Asia and Europe,” the spokesman said.

“By joining forces, we can offer U.S. customers the best quality solutions at competitive prices.”

The Datwyler Group has more than 50 operating companies, a work force of about 6,500 and annual revenue in the $1.36 billion range. It operates two divisions: Sealing Solutions and Technical Components.