Butler manufacturer acquires Florida firm

MRPC, a Butler manufacturer of medical device components and assemblies, has made its first acquisition in three decades in an effort to foster expansion of the business.

The company recently acquired ETI Inc., a Florida-based firm with expertise in liquid silicone rubber molding. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition, the first for MRPC since the 1980s, will allow the 91-year-old company to continue to meet increased demand for silicone molding, two-material molding, micromolding, medical rubber and thermoplastic molding, MRPC management said.

ETI works with many companies in the medical industry and complements MRPC’s current offerings, MRPC president Greg Riemer said.

The deal “will bring our customers even more horsepower in liquid silicone molding, while providing the security and convenience of multi-location production facilities,” Riemer said.

Formerly known as Molded Rubber & Plastics Corp., MRPC decided to pursue a growth strategy that included an acquisition, he said.

ETI became a target because it matched MRPC’s core competency — silicone molding.

MRPC has more than 115 employees in Butler and ETI employs about 25 people in Florida. Including the ETI acquisition, MRPC has added about 50 highly skilled jobs overall in the past year, primarily in engineering and manufacturing, Riemer said.

The company anticipates adding an additional 10 to 20 positions over the next two years at its manufacturing campus on West Glendale Avenue in Butler, where the company has three buildings totaling 85,000 square feet.

The ETI deal took about a year to complete, Riemer said.

“It ebbed and flowed a little bit,” he said. “They had some interest initially but backed off a bit, but we enticed them to come back to the table.”

Keeping both plants
ETI, which launched in 1987, will function as a division of MRPC and both companies’ facilities will continue full operations, serving as northern and southern U.S. hubs.

State-of-the-art cleanrooms and production equipment allow for the manufacturing of medical components, implantable products and subassemblies for health care and life sciences companies, including some of the world’s largest companies, according to MRPC.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this growing enterprise, knowing that it brings enhanced capabilities and versatility to our customers,” ETI general manager Jim Smith said.

Smith will remain as general manager of the Florida location.

The merging of ETI with MRPC “creates a strategic advantage and elevates the national profile of both companies,” Smith said.

MRPC, which is owned by the Boemer family, has invested more than $3 million in the Butler facility in recent years, including the addition of multiple cleanrooms.

Its most recent cleanroom, a 2,000-square-foot facility, opened earlier this year, gives MRPC additional liquid injection molding capabilities, Riemer said. Combined, MRPC and ETI have a total of five cleanrooms. Many of the company’s customers require that components be produced in a cleanroom environment.

Founded in 1921, MRPC had revenue of slightly less than $20 million in 2011, up about 10 percent from 2010, when the company’s business struggled as a result of the recession. The company is projecting revenue growth of 15 to 20 percent in 2012, Riemer said.

Growth has stemmed from new customers as well as expanded business with existing customers, which has created demand for additional staff in operations and engineering, Riemer said.

The ETI acquisition is being funded with bank debt and cash from operations.

“We’re taking on a small amount of debt,” he said. “We had been debt free to this point.”

MRPC will seek another acquisition once it integrates ETI into its operations and pays down debt from the deal, Riemer said.

“Over the next few years we want to get into a position to look for another acquisition target,” he said.

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