WESTBROOK, Maine—Although its new headquarters is smaller than the old one, industrial tire maker Maine Rubber International isn't looking to consolidate—not after the recent acquisition of two tire and wheel businesses. Just the opposite, the company is interested in growing and is looking to grab a bigger slice of the industrial tire original equipment and replacement markets, according to Maine Rubber President Stuart Brown.
In April, Maine Rubber bought Industrial Tires Ltd. in Mississauga, Ontario, and Kenhar Wheel and Baseband in Guelph, Ontario, from Portland, Ore.-based forklift manufacturer Cascade Corp.
At the time, Cascade said the purchase price was in the high $30-million range.
Since then, Maine Rubber has purchased a new headquarters building in nearby Gorham, Maine, traveling a circuitious route to finding its new home base.
In mid-April, Maine Rubber thought it had struck a deal to consolidate its 75,000-sq.-ft., four-building headquarters in Westbrook into a 40,000-sq.-ft. facility in the Riverside Industrial Park in Portland, about 10 miles away.
However, nearby residents objected and petitioned to prevent the move. Portland officials rejected the petition.
The deal was then quashed when environmental violations surfaced at the vacant Riverside plant, Mr. Brown said.
The company backed off, maintaining there was too much uncertainty at the site to proceed.
Following another intensive search involving a dozen sites, the company finally selected a 48,000-sq.-ft. plant in an industrial park in Gorham, according to Steve Cantor, Maine Rubber's project manager.
The new site is about a mile from the firm's present plant, he said, making the move of equipment easier. It also fulfills another company objective of remaining close to its current location to accommodate workers.
``We expect to make efficiency gains, and the space utilization will be much more efficient at the new site,'' Mr. Cantor said. ``We should be in full operation at the new facility Sept. 1.''
But Maine Rubber isn't really getting smaller.
The two newly acquired businesses will boost Maine Rubber's sales to about $70 million in fiscal 1999 from $27 million last year, Mr. Brown said.
Both operations will remain at their present Canadian sites, he said, but will be combined with MaineTire, a subsidiary, and become Maine Industrial Tires Ltd., headquartered in Portland, Maine. They will operate as stand-alone businesses.
Cascade sold the companies to focus on its attachment and forklift operations, President and CEO Robert C. Warren Jr. said. That deal closed in May.
Mr. Brown called the acquisitions ``a win-win situation."
Cascade Corp., he said, "can focus on their core business and the acquisitions are natural for us, opening the way to both cost savings and process improvements in purchasing, manufacturing and distribution.''
Privately held Maine Rubber, founded in 1949, manufactures industrial tires for forklift trucks and other industrial vehicles.
The company offers a complete line of pneumatics, pneumatic-shaped solids, solid rubber press-ons and polyurethane press-ons, Mr. Brown said.
One of the larger U.S. makers of replacement industrial tires, the firm also exports. Its tires are marketed under the MaineTire and Bison brand names.
Maine Rubber also operates a polyurethane products manufacturing plant from which it markets products under the Permathane brand name.
The facility makes a variety of custom-molded parts, including snow plow cutting edges, along with the Perma Groomer product line for the ski industry.
The company has distribution centers in Philadelphia, Houston, Sacramento, Calif., Rockford, Ill., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Montreal.
It markets worldwide through a network of 700 dealers.