STAPLES, Minn.—Zhongli North America Inc., the North American unit of Zhongli Corp., has purchased Stern Rubber Co. as the Chinese company looks to grow in North America.
Terms of the deal, closed in November, were not disclosed.
Zhongli said in a news release that acquiring the Staples-based manufacturer of custom molded and extruded rubber products is the first step in its strategy to establish a manufacturing presence in North America for its automotive products.
Currently, the Shanghai-based company operates its North American unit out of Troy, Mich., which houses a 33,000-sq.-ft. parts storage and re-packaging warehouse facility used to distribute its automotive-related rubber products manufactured in Shanghai and Wuhu, China. It also operates a 13,000-sq.-ft. technical center in Madison Heights, Mich., that performs sales, engineering, logistics and quality control functions.
Zhongli does not currently have a manufacturing presence in North American and plans to bring over production from China and establish it at Stern's operations in Minnesota, according to Stern Rubber President Bob Jackson.
Zhongli's main product lines include suspension components such as bushings, engine mounts and transmission mounts.
Kenneth Rohan, vice president of operations for Zhongli North America, said in a statement that the firm ultimately plans to expand its capabilities for other automotive related components to reach customers it couldn't reach without having a manufacturing presence in North America. That's where Stern Rubber comes in. The company is not present in the automotive industry but uses the kind of rubber-to-metal bonding processes Zhongli was targeting.