Sampla's acquisition of the AFTI specialty lightweight belting end of the Desmi operation “is a good fit, in terms of the product range, the customer base and also in terms of their employees,” Balint said. “The product range integrates well and is complementary to Sampla's current product range.”
Desmi is a Danish company that specializes in the production of oil spill control products. In 2008, it acquired Applied Fabric Technologies Inc. in Orchard Park, N.Y., to enter the belt manufacturing market.
That divided its focus and it has decided to step back.
It sold the belting business to concentrate on its core operation—marine oil and spill containment and recovery products—in North America, according to Peter Lane, vice president of Desmi, which was founded in 1834.
The firm will retain a sales office in Orchard Park, he said, while production of oil spill and recovery equipment will be consolidated into the company's Chesapeake, Va., plant, which Desmi opened in early 2014.
AFTI manufactures and fabricates specialty custom belting and industrial fabric for a select number of global industries, including food handling, aluminum extrusion, furniture, printing, textile, and pulp and paper.
Sampla is a major international manufacturer and fabricator of lightweight belts with a distributor presence on all six continents and subsidiaries in Italy, the U.S., Brazil, China and Canada. The 64-year-old company is a privately held, third-generation, family owned business with more than 150 employees worldwide.
Its North American subsidiary was founded in 1997. The company has three manufacturing locations, in Italy, Brazil and the U.S.
“We have had a long business relationship with Desmi-AFTI ... and the fact that we were familiar with their products and personnel made the decision to buy the assets of the belting division easier,” Balint said.
In addition to purchasing the belt business, Sampla is adding John O'Brien, marketing director of Desmi-AFTI, to its management team as product manager. Also joining Sampla will be AFTI's key belt technician and fabricator. O'Brien will train and transfer specialized fabrication knowledge to other members of the Sampla staff.
Some personnel at the Orchard Park plant, many of whom worked in both the oil boom and belt ends of the Desmi operation, will remain with Desmi. The company did not say if any would be laid off.
Sampla plans to relocate the acquired belt business, inventory and machinery to its 40,000-sq.-ft. Lackawanna plant, where it will be fully integrated into Sampla, Depaoli and Balint said.
“We wanted to expand in the North American market, and this will help us do that,” Depaoli said. Balint added that the purchase will aid revenue growth, allow the company to enter new markets, expand its distribution base and bring in experienced personnel.