Bob Cervenka, one of my favorite American molders, began Phillips Plastics in 1964 in a northern Wisconsin creamery, with the idea that he could be successful if he always used the latest technology. He was an early adopter of the reciprocating screw, later moved into metal molding, was an early believer in early involvement in the design process and later established a technology center to explore new ideas. A significant technology center at an American custom molder? Yes.
In 2009, Bob’s health declined and the company endured one of its toughest ever stretches of business, triggered by the global financial meltdown in 2008.
The company moved into the realm of the investment capital world, first acquired by Kohlberg and later by Golden Gate.
This morning it was announced that the company (now called Phillips-Medisize) was acquired by Molex, an elite electronics injection molder. What a great fit. Phillips-Medisize brings a focus on the medical market and joins a manufacturing company with a similar emphasis on high-level, specialized technology.
The marriage of electronics and medical molding will be greatly accelerated by the combination. Phillips-Medisize’s goal is to become a global leader in the manufacturing of biologics drug delivery devices.
Phillips-Medisize brings annual sales exceeding $700 million, 4,300 employes, and 17 locations around the world. It will operate as an indirect subsidiary of Molex, LLC when the transaction is completed later this year.
Molex will help Phillips-Medisize grow globally, an idea that was anathema to Bob Cervenka. Tim Ruff, senior VP of business development and corporate strategy, Molex, LLC, commented; “Combined with Molex’s expertise in electronics and broad global manufacturing presence, we are confident that together we can significantly expand our medical solutions capabilities globally.”
My only regret is that Phillips was a very transparent company from its earliest days through the excellent stewardship of CEO Matt Jennings. Molex is a very private company which has never been willing to discuss its injection molding business, which is substantial. But that’s selfish. This company is great new American injection molding powerhouse.