An international cabinet hardware company looking to bring business back from overseas has bought custom injection molder Precision Plastics Inc. of Columbia City, Ind., and will add metal die-cast technology to Precision’s lineup.
Titus Group acquired the employee-owned company Jan. 10 and has renamed it Titus Precision LLC.
“We have looked at opportunities to onshore more of our manufacturing in the United States for quite some time,” Titus North America CEO Matthew Hurley, who will also become CEO of Titus Precision, said in a Jan. 12 news release.
“We look forward to welcoming Precision Plastics’ team and supporting them with investment in current and new programs. The introduction of Titus Group’s proprietary zinc metal and automation capabilities will now enable us to develop a wider range of customer-specific solutions locally,” he said.
Ron Richey, who was CEO and president of Precision Plastic, is now the chief financial officer of Titus Precision and will help with the transition.
“I could retire, but my plan is to stay as long as they need me to stay; I imagine at least a year,” Richey said in a Jan. 14 phone interview.
Titus will be moving its warehouse and customer service operations from Chicago to Columbia City and plans to invest about $7 million in the 87,000-square-foot facility there over the next few years, adding new equipment and reconfiguring the building to accommodate those operations and new business, Richey said.
“They’re bringing in new molding machines and some new die-casting machines,” Richey said. Columbia City will be Titus’ sole U.S. manufacturing site, he added.
Precision Plastics’ primary markets include automotive, aerospace/defense, consumer products and industrial. The company was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and had been seeking a buyer for six months.
“When we lost our largest customer during the pandemic, things slowed way down. We looked for a partner who could utilize our expertise and experience … as an [alternative] to shrinking dramatically.”
Even so, in the meantime, Precision’s annual sales dropped from about $20 million before the pandemic to half that amount now. The company went from 35 presses to about 18.
Employees backed the sale, especially given the situation.
“The employees were 100 percent behind it,” Richey said. “It wasn’t that long ago we had 120-some [workers].” That number currently stands at 52, “but the plan is to have 85-100 by the end of 2022. This is a real opportunity for the people here.”
Precision Plastics has been part of the Columbia City community since 1959 and the Titus deal will allow that to continue, Richey said.
“These people here can carve out a bright future for themselves with a new company,” he said. “I see it as a win-win for the community and employees and, I firmly believe, for our customers.”
And the acquisition — Richey looks at it as a partnership — will help Titus Group by solving some of the overseas supply-chain problems posed by the pandemic, he noted.
Titus Group, which comprises 22 companies, mainly operates in three areas: hardware, such as connectors and concealed hinges, for ready-to-assemble furniture; precision components including home and commercial hydraulic dampers; and technologies for developing, engineering and producing tools, automated assembly systems and die-casting machinery and components.
Titus began as a sole proprietor screw distributor in 1973. In 2005, Titus International, now based in London, bought hinge specialist Lama Dekani of Slovenia and in 2014 added distributor Tekform Australia. The parent company now employs 900.
The company’s U.S. administrative office, operating under the name Titus Tool Co. Ltd., is in Bellevue, Wash. Internationally, the family-owned company’s administrative headquarters is in Sherburn in Elmet, England, near Shelby. Titus’ main manufacturing base is at Dekani, and it has manufacturing or trade operations in Europe, Asia, Mexico, Indonesia, China, Australia and Singapore.
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