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Romeo purchases GI Plastek’s RIM business

By Roger Renstrom, UT Akron BureauNewburyport, Massachusetts-Romeo RIM Inc. of Romeo, Michigan, has acquired the reaction injection moulding business of GI Plastek of Newburyport. No terms were disclosed in the 3 Nov deal.Romeo purchased equipment and tooling at facilities in DeWitt, Iowa, and Newburyport, including 16 RIM presses and eight RIM injection metering units. Both firms use polyurethane and poly(dicyclopentadiene) resins in their RIM applications.”This is the largest acquisition in Romeo’s history,” said Phil Whisman, Romeo president and chief executive officer.Romeo takes control of the 3000-sq.m DeWitt plant and may expand that site in the near future.GI Plastek retains possession of the Newburyport plant. Romeo intends to move the equipment over several months.”We will transition the business to locations closer to our customers,” said John Geisler, Romeo customer development manager. “We have some capacity available in each location” in Romeo, Gaffney, South Carolina and, now, DeWitt.GI Plastek, headed by Charles Lagasse, retains its custom injection moulding and structural foam moulding operations in Marysville, Ohio, and Wolfeboro, New Hampshire.GI Plastek was founded in 1973 and began operations in Newburyport in 1984. Earlier this year, GI Plastek lost a contract to supply polycarbonate postal cluster-box components for American Locker Group Inc. Now GI Plastek is refocusing.GI Plastek’s RIM operations employ about 50, according to Geisler. Romeo may hire a few of the Newburyport employees, but is “not planning on absorbing 100 percent” of that staff.Romeo RIM produces composite parts for trucks and buses, and for the construction, agricultural and industrial equipment markets.GI Plastek has some overlap with the Romeo markets and also produces RIM housings for business machines and medical equipment.In 1999, Romeo purchased the assets of Vaunguard Inc.’s Owosso, Mich., RIM operation and in 1993 it bought Harris Environmental Inc., an Atlanta-area DCPD manufacturer of intermediate bulk containers. In addition, Romeo acquired a DCPD pallet business in 2002 when Allmand Industries Inc. of Livonia, Mich., ceased operations.Privately held Romeo RIM employs another 250 in Romeo and Gaffney and is affiliated with Reserve Group, a private equity firm in Akron, Ohio, that backs midsize manufacturing. The relationship between Romeo RIM and Reserve goes back to 1982.Romeo RIM does not disclose sales.GI Plastek said it has about 200 full-time employees and annual sales of about $40 million. Customers include CNH Global NV, Deere & Co. and Caterpillar Inc. The RIM work was “a minor portion of the [GI Plastek] business,” Geisler said.Over the years, GI Plastek has received awards for RIM work in Structural Plastics Division competitions of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.”

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