Rubber extrusion component manufacturer Jaeger-Unitek has seen its sales triple over the last four years and is continuing to grow, President and CEO Mark S. Dilley said. By the end of 2016, it expects revenues to exceed $20 million. Its success helped prompt its decision to find a new factory that would give it sufficient room to expand.
It settled on a 137,000-sq.-ft. facility in La Porte that gave the firm an additional 50,000 square feet and purchased the plant, located near its existing site, according to Dilley. It's about 40 percent larger in terms of floor space than the firm's present factory, he said.
The Indiana Economic Development Corp., chaired by Gov. Michael Pence, offered Jaeger-Unitek up to $500,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company's job creation plans. The tax credits are performance-based; until the employees are hired, the firm is not eligible to claim incentives. La Porte also is offering incentives to the company.
Specializing in rubber and plastic extruded products, along with injection molded components used in window, door and sunroof assemblies for the automotive industry, the company employs about 75 full-time employees at the La Porte factory and plans to add another 52 jobs at the site by 2016. Its parent has more than 1,000 employees spread across five countries.
Jaeger-Unitek presently is interviewing, hiring and training personnel for engineering, finance, production and maintenance posts at the plant in La Porte, which serves as the U.S. headquarters for the Jaeger North American Automotive Division.
Jaeger-Unitek also has plants in Minnesota and California that are part of its Agricultural Division.
The new plant, expected to be operational in August, will allow the firm to add another tri-durometer thermoplastic extrusion line and a thermoplastic injection press, Dilley said. “We anticipate the need for another thermoplastic extrusion line early next year and potentially a dual-durometer rubber extrusion line as well” to help handle its growing sales base.
Once the company takes over the new facility, it will close its lease at its current site and vacate the site, he said.
About 80 percent of the sales made from the La Porte facility are for North American automotive product suppliers, Dilley said. About 60 percent of its sales are to top Japanese-owned companies, 20 percent to German-owned businesses and 20 percent to U.S.-based firms, he said.
“The automotive industry is in high gear in the Hoosier state,” said Gov. Pence. “After visiting Jaeger-Unitek in La Porte earlier this month, it was a privilege to hear directly from Jaeger Group's leadership in Germany that their next growth plans are on the horizon.”
Founded in 2006 as Unitek Sealing Solutions, the Jaeger Group bought the company in 2010. Shortly thereafter, the La Porte operation doubled its employment, and the parent company invested more than $3 million to add rubber and thermoplastic molding, cryogenic deflashing and robotic inspection capabilities at the site.