VERSAILLES, Ky.—Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. will merge YH America Inc. and SAS Rubber Co., its two U.S. industrial product manufacturing and sales subsidiaries, into Yokohama Industries Americas Inc.
YH America and SAS combined for sales of about $214.8 million and employ about 1,200 people, Yokohama said. About 100 of those employees work for SAS.
“From a marketing perspective it brings clarity to the customer,” said Brian Franklin, marketing director for YH America. “Yokohama is obviously a very well-known name in the automotive and industrial industries worldwide. We'll be able to utilize that name and have come consistency going forward.”
The unified subsidiary's head office will be located in Versailles. YH America's production sites are located in Versailles and Easley, S.C., with a plant in Aguascalientes, Mexico, scheduled to begin production this fall. YH America also has a technical and sales center in Auburn Hills, Mich.
SAS's production site is located in Painesville, Ohio.
YH America has undergone recent expansions at both of its sites, along with the soon-to-be christened plant in Mexico. Versailles broke ground on a 12,000-sq.-ft. expansion in March 2013, doubling the size of the facility. The plant began manufacturing urethane additives in November 2013. The expansion represented a $5.3 million investment.
“Essentially a lot of that capacity has already been sold,” Franklin said. “It's complete and going very well.”
In 2011, YH America invested about $5.14 million over five years at its Easley facility. The firm said at the time it was to add 93 jobs and 30,000 square feet to the plant.
YH America's factory in Aguascalientes will produce automotive air conditioning hoses and aluminum fittings for a Japanese car maker with operations in Mexico, as well as for other customers with strong Mexican presences.
“We put a lot of capital into these facilities,” Franklin said. “Three out of four of our plants are either new or underwent substantial expansions over the last three or four years.”
SAS' plant may not have undergone a physical expansion, but it is investing in new technology. Don Patt, senior consultant for sales and marketing at SAS, said the firm just purchased an extrusion department from a Texas company. The facility will have the capability to produce extruded silicones and cellular rubber.
Both of those product lines are areas YH America deals with, Patt said.
“Instead of YH being a customer of ours, they'll actually be part of our company,” Patt said. “We'll bring stuff in-house that normally isn't. We're manufacturing some industrial molded and extruded parts for YH in Kentucky that we normally wouldn't be doing.”
Yokohama Industries Americas plans to expand into South America, but Franklin said those plans are in the development stages. He said the firm plans to partner with its customers who also are growing in that region.
The group focuses on the automotive parts business, concentrating on air conditioning and power steering hoses in North and Central America.
YH America assembles and sells hoses, metal fittings and windshield sealants for the automotive industry, among other industrial products.
SAS Rubber produces automotive hoses and other industrial-use rubber products. Patt estimated the Painesville site produces about 1,500 products under its two main divisions: hose and industrial rubber department. About 75 percent of the industrial business deals with mass transportation, producing windows and door closures for most transit units in the U.S.
SAS joined Yokohama when it was acquired as part Mohawk Rubber Co. in 1989.