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Delmon to buy Trelleborg's rubber boot unit in Spain

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STOCKHOLM, Sweden—Delmon Industrie S.A. plans to purchase Trelleborg Industrial Solutions' light vehicle rubber boot operation in Pamplona, Spain, to strengthen its automotive business.

Called Trelleborg Inepsa, the acquired business will enlarge Delmon's customer footprint, benefit the company's other businesses and give it additional technical and industrial know-how, according to a Delmon spokeswoman.

She noted that major customers of Trelleborg's Pamplona plant are blue chip international clients who will remain with Inepsa under the new ownership. That will help Delmon as it continues to build its overall business.

Inepsa employs about 150 at its plant in Pamplona. Delmon will retain them, at least in the short term. The business will continue to operate out of the factory, also for the short term, because “we plan to diversify the plant in the coming years,” the spokeswoman said.

The companies did not furnish financial details.

Trelleborg is selling the business because it wants to focus on its thermoplastic elastomer boot business, which is growing, according to Mikael Frylund, president of Trelleborg Industrial Solutions, a business within Stockholm-based Trelleborg A.B.

Market demand for TPE boots used for constant velocity joints and rack and pinion is steadily increasing, the company said, while demand for rubber boots is shrinking.

“The rationale behind this deal is straightforward,” Frylund said. “There is an ongoing technology shift, and TPE boots are rapidly gaining market share at the expense of rubber boots. We will now put more emphasis on the faster growing part of the light vehicle boot segment.

“Moreover, the TPE boot segment is a niche where we have a strong global position, and we will continue to capitalize on our technology and global capabilities in the market.”

A spokeswoman for Trelleborg said the company's TPE boots are produced at plants in Salisbury, N.C.; Nantes, France; Mlada Boleslav, Czech Republic; and Wuxi, China.

The shift from rubber to TPE boots has been gradual but accelerated in the last few years, she said, adding that TPEs gained ground because the overall quality of boots improved and they're more reliable and robust.

With the rubber boot business heading to Delmon, Trelleborg will increase its efforts to build and expand the TPE end of the operation further, she said.

While light vehicle rubber boots no longer are a good fit with Trelleborg, they tie in well with Delmon. The Paris-based company plans to integrate Inepsa's products into its line of offerings and said it is fully prepared to support the firm's international customer base. The company has been making rubber boots for various markets for 35 years.

Fryklund noted that Delmon is better equipped to develop the acquired business and can supplement the shrinking production of rubber boots with new products and maintain the operation in Spain.

Delmon designs and manufactures technical rubber parts, rubber-to-metal components and substances for acoustic, anti-vibration and impenetrability applications.

It serves a wide number of industries, including automotive, high technology, aeronautic, railway, oil exploration and house appliances.