The Morris group of companies has two new presidents-both from the Morris family-and is looking to expand via acquisition and expansion in the near future.
Morris Latex Products Inc., its flagship business, also is adding new equipment for production of rubber latex breathing bags.
Walter J. Morris, chairman of the group, named son Timothy J. Morris president of Morris Latex Products, and his other son, David A. Morris, president of MMS L.L.C., which operates businesses in Swinoujscie, Poland, and Reynosa, Mexico.
Both Timothy and David Morris have been running their companies as executive vice presidents for some time, the senior Morris said, and the natural progression is for each to carry the president title, too.
``They were performing the duties without the titles,'' he said at the International Latex Conference, held July 26-27 in Charlotte, N.C. ``So nothing really changes. Tim got a title he richly deserves after spending 19 years in the business.''
David, on the other hand, has been running MMS since it was formed when Morris purchased the assets of a group of four businesses in bankruptcy in mid-2003. The companies were merged into two operations.
MMS wants to buy a 100,000-sq.-ft. plant to replace its 15,000-sq.-ft. facility in Poland, Walter Morris said. That expansion is necessary because business has been booming in Poland during the last year.
``Right now, Poland is the manufacturing choice in Europe,'' he said.
The plants in Poland and Mexico primarily make and assemble plastic circuits for the European and Asian markets and do no latex dipping. However, they do produce elastomer-based oxygen tubing.
``They hadn't made a profit in 10 years, and we turned them around in nine months,'' Morris said. ``They had an increase of 8-percent bottom line profit in 2004 and we expect them to increase 15 percent in 2005.''
Morris Latex Products' 75,000-sq.-ft. plant in Noble, Okla., produces breathing bags, about 60 percent made from synthetic rubber and 40 percent natural rubber. The facility produces between 1.6 million and 2 million pieces a month.
The Noble facility has added a new oven, and the firm is planning to install another automated, 12-station, three-zone oven later this year.
It currently operates 10 manual ovens and one automated oven, which are the equivalent of three manual ovens, Morris said.
``Business has been strong,'' he said, and Morris Latex Products needed the new equipment to keep pace with sales growth.
On the acquisition front, Morris would consider purchasing another bankrupt company or companies. ``We showed we have the ability to take over a company and turn it around quickly,'' he said.
The key is to get excess cost out of an operation and ensure it's run properly, he said. His companies are cash rich, he admits, which puts the group in an ideal position to acquire other operations.