Flexfab Horizons International Inc. is moving away from the silicone rubber molding business to concentrate on its primary operations, including the production of silicone hose and ducting.
The company has sold subsidiary Flexfab Molded Products L.L.C., a custom molder of silicone rubber products, to Thistle Group for an undisclosed amount.
Thistle Group bought Flexfab Molded Products' assets, including its 32,000-sq.-ft. East Troy, Wis., plant and equipment, according to John Price, vice president of operations for FHI, the parent of silicone rubber product manufacturer Flexfab L.L.C. Thistle Group was incorporated in May and is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Ind.
The acquisition should pay off for Flexfab Molded Products and its employees, according to Tom Lapsley, principal owner of Thistle Group. It plans to build the business further in the next few years and Lapsley expects the 60 employees at the East Troy facility to remain with the company. He said the firm intends to make the business a significant part of its growth plan in the silicone molded products industry.
The firm plans to grow quickly in the next few years via acquisitions or startups, said Lapsley, who has spent more than 30 years in the silicone rubber business.
FHI opted to sell the silicone goods molder because it didn't fit the firm's core businesses in the heavy-duty truck, automotive and aerospace industries, said Douglas DeCamp, chairman, president and CEO of the firm.
Flexfab Molded Products made significant improvements as a custom molder since it was formed in 1998, he said, but FHI ultimately determined it didn't tie in with its primary operations.
So the firm ``reluctantly concluded that it was best for the employees of FMP and for FHI to turn away from general custom molding and focus all our resources on our core businesses,'' DeCamp said in a prepared statement.
FHI will continue to do some silicone rubber molding, Price said, primarily for its core businesses. However, that will not be a significant part of its operations.
The company's manufacturing arm, Flexfab L.L.C., produces component parts for the heavy-duty truck, automotive, aerospace and other industries that require flexible parts for use in extremes of heat and cold.
Flexfab's product line includes coolant hose, heater hose, charge air connectors, special reinforced shapes and flexible ducting for a variety of applications.
The sale was FHI's second during the last eight months.
In late May, the Arlon Silicone Technologies Division of Bairnco Corp. acquired the Mox-Tape-brand product line from the company to broaden its product line.
Arlon purchased unreinforced and reinforced silicone self-fusing tapes used in a broad range of applications and segments, including high-temperature electrical insulation for the military, aerospace, automotive, marine and power generation markets.
While Flexfab Molded Products didn't fit well with FHI's core operations, it's an ideal match with Thistle Group, Lapsley noted.
``This is a novel way of approaching the silicone business,'' the executive said, referring to FMP's status as ``a high-profile, select materials molder that's very specialized.''
It ties in perfectly with the group's growth plan, which calls for the firm to focus on the silicone molding and goods industry.
``We are keeping our options open, of course,'' Lapsley said. He also noted it is possible that other rubber product molders could be purchased, too, if they tie in to the company's overall business program.
``We're looking at acquiring or establishing at least five businesses,'' he said, indicating that he is currently holding acquisition talks with other companies.
A linked group of silicone molders was the brainchild of Lapsley. The principal owner of the group has extensive experience in that sector of the rubber industry.
He served as president of GE/ASI L.L.C., a firm owned by General Electric Co., for three years prior to creating his new company.
Before that, he spent 11 years as an executive with American Silicones Corp. before it was purchased by GE.