MIDDLEFIELD, Ohio—Universal Rubber & Polymer Ltd. has acquired Dybrook Products Inc. to bolster its custom rubber product manufacturing operation and expand its base.
An operating company of private investment firm Cypress Companies in Akron, Universal Rubber made the purchase because both manufacturers have similarities and complement one another, creating a strong opportunity for future growth, according to Joe Colebank Jr., president and CEO of Universal Rubber.
The purchase could lead to an expansion next year at Universal Rubber's facility in Middlefield where Dybrook's manufacturing operation eventually will be relocated, he said, adding that the company also is very interested in pursuing other potential acquisitions.
“We are taking a very aggressive strategy in growing Universal Rubber,” Colebank said. “This includes acquisitions, as well as internal growth.”
He said the Dybrook transaction has been completed. Financial details weren't disclosed.
Dybrook is a custom molder and extruder of rubber and plastic products founded in 1989. It makes bumpers, gaskets, seals and other offerings using EPDM, neoprene, nitrile, silicone, natural rubber and SBR for the automotive, industrial, commercial, energy and other markets.
Universal Rubber's established strengths include rubber and plastic extrusion, rubber molding, secondary operations and overseas sourcing.
It produces a wide variety of goods—including gaskets, bumpers, seals, bushings and shock mounts—made from NR, silicone, nitrile, polyurethane, polyisoprene, butyl, neoprene and other elastomers.
Together, the two companies are an excellent fit, Colebank said, because of their established strengths.
Virtually all of Dybrook's work force of about 42 employees will be offered positions within the combined company, Colebank said.
One former owner, Alan Endicott, will remain with the merged company for the time being while the other, Diane Bumstead, will retire.
Formed in 1970, Universal Rubber currently employs about 55 at its Middlefield facility.
Plans call for Dybrook personnel to continue operating out of its present 60,000-sq.-ft.-plant in Warren to ensure a seamless transition for customers.
In the future, he said, the work force and machinery at Dybrook's plant will be consolidated into Universal Rubber's more-than 100,000-sq.-ft. Middlefield facility located about 30 minutes away from Warren.
It has not been determined when the move from Warren to Middlefield will take place, but it's likely Universal Rubber will continue to operate the factory for the remainder of 2012 and move to the Middlefield location by year-end.
While its plan is to pull the manufacturing end of the operation from the factory, the owners of the leased Warren facility probably will try to keep the company as a tenant. Colebank said he will study the proposal before making a final decision.
He said the firm does have some interest in using all or part of the site for warehousing, at least until it expands the Middlefield factory.
Presently, according to the company, there are a number of benefits gained from operating the two facilities, citing in particular:
— Both plants specialize in fast turnaround, high-mix, low-volume production, making them highly complementary. Because production will remain active at both sites for the time being, backup and a level of security will be created that did not formerly exist.
— The facilities in Middlefield and Warren each feature a variety of rubber and plastic molding, extrusion and secondary service machines. The ability to direct production to the most efficient location gives the combined firm agility and flexibility in responding to shifts and growth in customer demand.
— While the two companies share a similar focus, each location has its own areas of expertise. That will enhance one another's capabilities because each has a staff of skilled veterans who will share information and best practices with the other operation.
Colebank said another advantage of the acquisition will be that Universal Rubber will produce more of its products in the U.S.
“We really believe in 'made in America' and we do some business in China,” he said. “Now we'll bring some of that business back to our plants here.”