Though it’s not looking good, a final decision has not been made regarding the closing of a Cequent Performance Products factory in Goshen, Ind., and moving it to Mexico, according to a company official.
The South Bend Tribune reported that if it does close, 450 workers in the trailer-hitch manufacturing factory will be looking for work.
Many workers from the Cequent factory packed a Goshen City Council meeting earlier this week to push city officials into trying to keep the plant open.
They wanted to know if there was any recourse the city could take regarding two tax abatements the company has been given, Mark Brinson, community development director for Goshen, said.
Brinson said the workers were told that the city is limited by the state statute on what it could do to recover taxes that had been abated.
One tax phase-in already has run its course, Brinson noted, and the company did not file for deductions on the active one, “so they did not receive any benefits this year.”
The company already moved one small portion of its operations to Mexico about a year ago.
The company told workers last week about its plans to close the factory, although company spokesman Alan Upchurch told The Goshen News that a final decision isn’t expected until next month.
“The increasingly competitive global market is forcing customers to demand the lowest cost products,” Upchurch told the Goshen paper. A move would also lower shipping costs because many of its customers have assembly plants in Mexico and the southern United States.
Upchurch said if Cequent, a subsidiary of Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based TriMas Corp., decided to close the Goshen factory, it would likely take much of 2013 to complete.
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Goshen, Ind., elected officials and employees say they will work their hardest to find a way the city can help Cequent Towing Products employees, but finding a solution might be difficult.
The Goshen News reported that parent company TriMas Corp. recently announced a preliminary recommendation to shut the Goshen facility, moving production lines to Reynosa, Mexico, according to a company statement. While it’s not a final decision, employees expect to hear the outcome by late November, according to the statement.
Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman and Dorinda Heiden-Guss, director of the Elkhart Economic Development Corp., are working to schedule a meeting with Cequent officials.
“I don’t know if there is anything we can do,” Kauffman said Wednesday (Oct. 24), adding he is certainly willing to try to help retain the jobs.
Heiden-Guss said it is a wage and benefits issues and as soon as she heard the news about the closure plans Friday she went to the plant to meet with company officials and was referred to other executives to arrange a future meeting. She believes that meeting will occur soon.
“Your heart does bleed for (Cequent employees),” Kauffman said. “These aren’t high-paying jobs anyway.”
He also expressed frustration with TriMas. He said the company had a good profit in 2011. He said of the planned move to Mexico, “I think it’s to drive the wages down and the profit up.”
The city’s most likely way of reclaiming anything against Cequent is through property tax phase-ins, according to city attorney Larry Barkes, who spoke at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The City Council approved two property tax phase-ins for the company over the past seven years, both for equipment improvements.
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Bloomfield, Mich.-based Trimas Corp. reported record sales of $335.9 million in its third quarter, ended Sept. 30, due to the “successful execution of numerous growth initiatives and results from bolt-on acquisitions.”
Trimas, parent to RV supplier Cequent Performance Products, said third-quarter revenue reflected a 21% increase from $277.7 million in third quarter 2011. During the period, net sales increased in all six reportable segments.
“Our record third quarter sales demonstrates we are successfully executing on our growth strategies,” said David Wathen, TriMas president and CEO. “We achieved sales growth of 21.0% during the third quarter, resulting from our bolt-on acquisitions, product innovation, market share gains and geographic expansion. In the midst of an uncertain global economic environment, we identify the bright spots where we believe we can capture growth for our businesses. We are making careful decisions to accelerate growth programs that are working, as we capitalize on opportunities that will drive long-term stakeholder value, while still mitigating and controlling risks.”
Net income during the third quarter was $18.7 million compared to $18.3 million the previous year while operating profit was $36.6 million.
The company’s Cequent America segment reported a 6.7% rise in sales compared to the year ago period. The increases were the result of newer product launches and continued market share gains. Third quarter operating profit increased compared to the prior year period as a result of higher sales levels, excluding the costs incurred related to the relocation of certain production to a lower cost country.
To read the entire report click here.
The Goshen, Ind., City Council passed the 2013 budget with amendment proposals from Mayor Allan Kauffman Tuesday (Oct. 23) night, but it was Cequent Towing Products employees that took center stage.
The Elkhart Truth reported that before budget discussions began, Cequent workers and representatives from the United Steelworkers union approached the council with concerns over the potential outsourcing the production of Reese Trailer hitches to factories in Mexico.
Union representatives warned that Cequent’s plans would mean 450 jobs would be lost, both union and non-union.
Kauffman said there would be a meeting in the near future with company officials to discuss what could be done to keep the jobs in the community.
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TriMas Corp., parent to RV supplier Cequent Performance Products, announced that Heartland Industrial Associates L.L.C. has agreed to sell 1.5 million shares of its common stock to Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. as the sole underwriter in the registered public offering of those shares.
Streetinsider.com reported that all net proceeds from the sale of the common stock will be received by the selling stockholder. TriMas will not receive any of the proceeds.
The total number of outstanding shares of TriMas common stock will not change as a result of this offering.
Cequent Performance Products, a TriMas Corp. business, has acquired Brazilian-based Engetran Engenharia Ltd., according to a press release. Headquartered outside of São Paulo, Engetran is a leading manufacturer of towing products including trailer hitches, skid plates and related accessories.
“We are excited to expand into Brazil and see tremendous opportunity to grow our entire product line of towing, trailering and electrical products in this emerging market,” said Tom Benson, president of Plymouth, Mich.-based Cequent Performance Products. “This acquisition allows us to leverage our full line of products in this rapidly growing market, as well as better support our global customers.”
Engetran is a market leader with hundreds of certified towing products that meet transportation regulations. Recent changes to regulations in Brazil enable all drivers to pull trailers, compared to the previous requirement of possessing a commercial driver’s license.
Cequent is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of a broad range of accessories for light trucks, sport utility vehicles, recreational vehicles, passenger cars and trailers of all types. Products include cargo management and rack systems, towing and hitch systems, and trailer and electrical brake systems. Brands include Bulldog, ROLA, Highland, The Pro’s Brand, Draw-Tite, Reese, Hidden Hitch, Fulton, Wesbar and Tekonsha.
TriMas Corp., parent to Cequent Performance Products, reported record sales for its first quarter, ended March 31.
The company posted revenue of $297.6 million, an increase of 15.1% compared to first quarter 2011. Net income during the three-month period was $12.25 million compared to $11.75 in the year prior.
“2012 is off to a solid start as we build upon the positive momentum of the past year,” said David Wathen, president and CEO for Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Trimas. “We achieved sales growth of 15.1% during the first quarter, resulting from successful execution of our strategic growth initiatives including bolt-on acquisitions, product innovation, market share gains and geographic expansion. While demand levels started the quarter slowly across several businesses, we saw significantly improved order and shipment levels late in the quarter.”
Net sales for Cequent North America decreased 1.5% compared to the year ago period, resulting primarily from a sales decrease within the Trimas retail channel due to a one-time stocking order for a significant customer in the first quarter of 2011 that did not recur in 2012. First quarter operating profit decreased compared to first quarter 2011 due to lower sales levels, costs incurred to relocate certain production to lower cost countries and increased selling, general and administrative costs, primarily in support of growth initiatives. Trimas said it continues to reduce fixed costs, minimize its investment in working capital, and leverage Cequent’s strong brand positions and new products for increased market share.
To view the entire report click here.
The soon-to-be-released Draw-Tite Class 5 Ultra Frame hitches have some “distinctive attributes,” according to a press release.
“Our new Ultra Frame is a change from regular receiver hitches,” states John Walsh, vice president of sales for Plymouth, Mich.-based Cequent Performance Products. “Hitches have largely been tube construction. In our Ultra Frame line-up, which is heavy-duty trailer hitches, we’ve moved to a cast center section. It has strength and aesthetic characteristics, as well as a larger chain hook-up for easy access. It’s a next-generation hitch.”
Draw-Tite’s new Ultra Frame hitch, with the cast center section, has a higher towing capacity and tongue weight rating than standard hitches. For example, new Ultra Frame hitches for the Ford F-350, 450, and 550 (Cab & Chassis) are rated for 16,000 pounds of towing, and 2,400 pounds of weight carrying tongue weight.
“When we develop new products, we want a trailer hitch to interact very cleanly with the electrical harness, coupler, jack and other products we’ve designed. So we go to great lengths to meet, and sometimes develop, the highest criteria of testing standards,” said Walsh. “We also work with our dealers to connect us with professionals to test and critique our products before we commercialize them. At the end of the day, this approach helps us understand what our products are being used for and how to make sure the consumer will be happy.”
During its 50th Anniversary Conference in San Diego last week, NTP Distribution Inc., a leading national distributor of RV and recreation-related products, honored Cequent Performance Products with the “2011 Vendor of the Year” award, as well as “Best Booth” featuring its Reese, Tekonsha and Bulldog brands. Pictured are Tom Benson, president of Cequent Performance, accepting the “Vendor of the Year” award from NTP President Greg Boyd. To win the best booth honor, Cequent’s staff took full advantage of NTP’s 50th anniversary by creating a rock-and-roll theme and dressing as the “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” from the classic Beatles album. “While we have fun at these events, we take the relationship we have with NTP and all our customers very seriously,” said Benson. “It’s an honor to be recognized with this award and a privilege to participate in NTP’s success.” Plymouth, Mich.-based Cequent supplies NTP with a several prominent towing brands, including Reese, Tekonsha, Bulldog, Bargman, ROLA, Tow Ready and Draw-Tite.
Cequent Consumer Products, a leading automotive and RV aftermarket supplier, announced today (March 2) that it has acquired Laitner Brush Co.
According to a press release, the move will open new markets for the Plymouth, Mich.-based company, a division of TriMas Corp. Cequent’s RV towing products include name brands such as Draw-Tite, Reese, Fulton, Wesbar, Bulldog, Highland, Hidden Hitch, Bargman, ROLA and Tekonsha.
“The purchase of Laitner Brush will broaden our product offering and allow us to expand our channels served,” said John Aleva, president of Cequent Consumer Products. “Laitner’s business model is a natural fit within our organization and we welcome Laitner’s employees to our Cequent Consumer Products’ family.”
Laitner Brush Co., headquartered in Traverse City, Mich., is a niche designer, manufacturer and supplier of cleaning products for the home/hardware, automotive aftermarket and household products markets. Laitner Brush has been making brushes since 1855.