Mark IV Industries Inc. has acquired LPI Engine Systems Co., a French firm that makes plastic air intake systems, for about $60 million in cash, the Amherst manufacturer said Thursday.
The acquisition is in line with Mark IV's goals of boosting its international business and expanding its automotive unit to increase its ability to provide entire systems, rather than just single components.
LPI, which was part of the Aries Group in France, makes products like air intake manifolds, as well as cooling modules made by injection, welding and blow molding technologies. The systems are used to circulate air within a vehicle and also to facilitate combustion.
The French firm, which has about $60 million in annual sales and three plants in France, is a leading maker of blow molded technical plastic parts, as well as thermoset injection or compression products, Mark IV said.
LPI, which will become part of Mark IV's automotive group, will make the company more competitive by allowing it to offer air handling systems in addition to its fuel and fluid handling products.
"It's a logical extension of what we're doing," said Sal H. Alfiero, Mark IV's chairman and chief executive officer.
"It moves us further down the road toward systems," Alfiero said. "This acquisition will enable the company to provide complete media-handling systems for automotive applications."
Alfiero said he also expects to be able to use LPI's technology in conjunction with some of Mark IV's other automotive products to create single components that handle both functions.
The acquisition is expected to add to Mark IV's profits within the first year, Alfiero said.
Mark IV also said it plans to begin selling LPI's products throughout the world; until now, they have been sold mainly in Europe. LPI supplies many major automakers, including Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, Ford, BMW, Porsche and Volkswagen.
Mark IV, which will finance the deal through its multi-currency credit facility, has been looking for companies to buy, especially if the deals would expand its international presence. Alfiero has said it is particularly important that Mark IV expand the global presence of its automotive business.
During the summer, Mark IV completed its acquisition of Nuova Eletta, an Italian maker of plastic containers for the automotive industry with annual sales of about $17 million. Alfiero said Mark IV is continuing to look for other acquisitions.