SALISBURY, N.C.—When opportunity came calling, Finzer Roller Inc. moved quickly.
The rubber roller producer acquired the business and certain assets of Carolina Rubber Rolls, a subsidiary of HBD/Thermoid Inc., on Jan. 18 for an undisclosed amount.
The deal, according to Finzer CEO John Finzer, was completed in just nine days.
"Through some hard work on the part of our lawyers, we closed the deal on Jan. 18," Finzer said. "I'm very proud of that, to be able to quickly respond to an opportunity and put it all together reflects well on Finzer Roller with the help of HBD/Thermoid. It's an opportunity we're glad we were able to execute on."
Matt Lockard, president of HBD/Thermoid's rubber products group, confirmed that almost all of six or so employees impacted by the deal received opportunities at Thermoid's other operations within the Salisbury plant, which is one of three hose manufacturing plants in the company's footprint.
The Carolina roller business accounted for less than 2 percent of Thermoid's rubber group sales, Lockard said.
"It was a tough decision to divest Carolina Rubber Rolls, but we really felt like we needed to focus on our core hose business," he said. "We want to continue to drive improvements through our delivery performance and our new product development to find solutions for customer problems. At the end of the day, the business was really just a better fit for someone like Finzer Roller."
Finzer said Carolina Rubber Rolls was a "significant" competitor of his company and now will absorb some equipment and inventory in addition to the sales records of Carolina. Production will be relocated to Finzer's Kernersville, N.C., manufacturing facility about 50 miles away.
The rolls produced by Carolina carry similar physical capabilities to Finzer's with regards to diameter, length, weight of part and industries served. Carolina was a significant player in the textiles industry with its urethane, rubber and silicone covered rolls. The deal will provide Finzer further access to customers in that area.
The deal comes at a perfect time for Finzer Roller, which said the Kernersville facility is about to embark on an expansion to increase the size of its 35,000-sq.-ft. plant by 15,000 square feet. The project is expected to be complete in the third quarter of 2019.
"We've been cramped in the North Carolina facility now for several years," Finzer said. "We contemplated moving, but recognized the disruption that would cause us. We struggled to find a suitable manufacturing site in the two we've been in for about 30 years. We had zero interest in moving a significant distance away from Kernersville and losing the associates we have at that location. When we couldn't find what we wanted, we opted to expand our existing facility."
Finzer added that the company is expanding in two other locations—its Black Lick, Pa., site will add 20,000 square feet to its 25,000-sq.-ft. operation that produces rollers for the steel industry. That project is expected to wrap up by May. It also is adding 12,000 square feet to its 35,000-sq.-ft. facility in Des Plaines, Ill., in a project that is scheduled to wrap up at the end of the third quarter.
As for Thermoid, Lockard said the divestiture will allow it to use the freed-up about 25,000 square foot of space at the 175,000-sq.-ft. site for additional warehousing for certain products that are made to stock, allowing the firm to improve customer lead times. Thermoid also will use the extra room to reorganize the layout of the plant and improve production flow.
The site produces mandrel-produced hoses—spiral, rotary and other customer lines—for a variety of markets, including oil and gas, petrochemical, marine and government-related products, among others.