Universal Plastics buys blow molder Premium Plastic Solutions

Universal Plastics Corp. has added a fourth member to its group of plastics processing companies.

The Holyoke, Mass.-based thermoformer bought Premium Plastic Solutions LLC, a custom blow molder in Latrobe, Pa. The acquisition was completed just before the end of the year, on Dec. 15, and marked Universal Plastics’ second acquisition in 2017. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Premium Plastic Solutions molds large parts for a range of industries, including medical, garden/lawn equipment, waste management, safety equipment, recreational equipment and water bottles. Its previous owners were private equity firms CapitalWorks LLC and Little Mountain Industries Inc., both in Cleveland.

In addition to Universal Plastics Corp., Premium Plastic Solutions joins two other companies within the Universal Plastics Group: thermoformer Mayfield Plastics Inc. in Sutton, Mass., and large-part injection molder Sajar Plastics LLC in Middlefield, Ohio. Sajar Plastics specializes in gas-assist injection molding.

Universal Plastics Group was formed in response to its recent acquisitions, the company said.

“With four sites across the country, three different types of manufacturing capabilities and more [companies] that we’re looking at, it really now makes sense for us to have this umbrella — sort of mother organization — that can provide leadership and resources,” Pia Kumar, chief strategy officer for Universal Plastics Group, said in a Feb. 9 phone interview.

All employees, about 70, at Premium Plastic Solutions will stay on in their current roles. Larry Nowak, president and CEO of Sajar Plastics, which Universal Plastics bought in June 2017 for an undisclosed amount, will assume similar responsibilities for Premium Plastic Solutions.

“We were simply lucky enough to find two great companies in one year,” Pia Kumar said in a Feb. 9 email when asked about the back-to-back acquisitions.

 Sajar Plastics is just under a three-hour drive from Premium Plastic Solutions’ Latrobe facility.

In a Jan. 31 news release, Jay Kumar, chairman of Premium Plastic Solutions and president & CEO of the Universal Plastics Group, said Premium Plastic Solutions “brings a deep understanding and a long history of blow molding to the Universal Plastics Group.”

“It rounds out our capabilities in important ways, adding to the thermoforming and injection molding skills,” he said. “With this acquisition, our goal is to meet every need of a prospective user of large molded plastic parts through a UPG company.”

With a range of large-part blow molding, custom thermoforming and large-part injection molding capabilities, the company said it can be a “supplier of choice” for its OEM customers.

“Jay’s goal is take make UPG a comprehensive, high-quality plastics supplier and to service customer needs at any point in the product lifecycle,” Pia Kumar said.

“We have four manufacturing facilities working together as one robust company to meet customer needs. The combined capabilities, engineering scale, and manufacturing expertise across multiple sites will allow us to achieve more efficiencies and be more responsive to our customer base,” she added.

The group is now able to offer injection and blow molding for nearly any volume level, whether prototyping or mass production, the company said. In addition, the expanded offerings enable economically optimal production processes for 50-500,000 parts per year, flexibility to mix production methods by part on multipart projects and assemblies, and a smoother transition between lower and higher volume processes with the same supplier, she said.

The Universal Plastics Group has approximately 350 employees and a full range of capabilities, including heavy-gauge thermoforming and pressure forming, gas-assisted injection molding, in-line packaging, metal-to-plastic conversion and tool making, among other competencies.

“We are an acquisitive company, and we are actively looking to expand. Our focus remains on plastics manufacturing,” Pia Kumar said. “We are looking for businesses with a strong strategic and cultural fit to join the UPG family. Jay and his leadership team are focused on finding good opportunities for future growth — both inorganic and organic.”

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