ASHTABULA, Ohio—Grand River Rubber and Plastics Co. acquired the flat drive belt division of Flexaust Co. Inc. in an agreement announced April 7.
The deal covers all equipment, customer lists and any intellectual property held by Flexaust. Grand River Rubber will begin moving the equipment from Flexaust's El Paso facility to its Ashtabula location April 17.
Grand River will implement the equipment as necessary, and will produce all new orders as of April 20 in Ohio, according to Grand River President Donald Chaplin.
Grand River, which is employee-owned, aims to hire about five employees to support the acquisition, Chaplin said, "whether it's moving existing employees and filling in other departments, or filling directly into that belt product line."
Flexaust, which manufacturers flexible hose and flexible ducting products, will have no layoffs because of the sale thanks to the steady volume of work in the hose product line, said Richard Meyer, CEO of the Schauenburg Hose Technology Group, which owns Flexaust.
The acquisition continues to solidify Grand River's customer base in China, says Chaplin. Talks about acquisition began in December, when Chaplin reached out to Meyer.
"We're really trying to continue to build the volume of our products, and we're in these niche markets," Chaplin said. "We try to be one of the top two or three players in each of the product lines we have. My thought was, 'Let's reach out to Richard [about] this side product line they have. Maybe he'd rather continue to focus just on hoses, where we're going to focus just on belts.'"
Once the discussions had started, the agreement came together quickly, Meyer said.
"It was a perfect opportunity to be paid for the assets that we have, and it was the right thing to do," he said. "It made sense to serve the customers, because Grand River spends 100 percent of their time thinking about rubber. We can focus our time and space toward hose production."