Canadian Plastics

Managers look to return Hallmark to private roots

A group of senior managers at Windsor, Ont.-based moldmaker Hallmark Technologies Inc. has mailed a bid circular to all its shareholders proposing to buy the firm's outstanding shares for $4 per share...

January 1, 2001   Canadian Plastics



A group of senior managers at Windsor, Ont.-based moldmaker Hallmark Technologies Inc. has mailed a bid circular to all its shareholders proposing to buy the firm’s outstanding shares for $4 per share. At press time, the managers have set Dec. 18, 2000 as the cut-off date for accepting the offer. If all goes as planned, the management group expects HTI to once again be a privately-run company to start the new year, according to Greg Balint, president.

Balint’s father Doug, and five others, founded HTI in 1972. It was purchased in 1985 by Derlan Industries and taken public in 1993. The HTI umbrella of companies consists of Hallmark Tools, Hallmark II, Maxim Tool and Mould, HTI Manufacturing, and Injection Technologies, all together employing 340 people. HTI had approximately $50 million in sales last year.

Balint says the price of the company’s shares has recently been hurt by a number of factors, including investors’ association of the company with the performance of the automobile industry. With auto production projected to be down, investors have retreated from HTI stock. Balint says the investor perception that any slight downturn in the automotive market would adversely affect company earnings was not entirely based on reality. For example, he notes, the company could still have significant automotive business depending on whether or not it is a model change-over year. Also, HTI share price suffered last year when one its main customers, Autosystems Mfg. in Belleville, Ont., filed for CCAA protection in June of 2000.

Balint says that by taking the company private the management group, which includes himself, Doug Balint, chief operating officer Burt Kenney and chief financial officer Bob Kavelman, will be able to focus on day to day operations and business growth.

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“We intend to develop a broad product mix,” Balint says, noting that company has already set the stage for growth beyond its traditional core business of building molds for automotive lighting systems. Injection Technologies, one of the HTI companies, has approximately 13 injection molding machines, ranging from 120- to 3500-ton in clamping force.

As well, HTI Manufacturing owns a 1500-ton multi-color, multi-material machine. The machine was originally purchased for tooling tryouts of tools used to make polycarbonate traffic signs, but will now be used to expand the company’s multi-material technology business and capability.

Additionally, over the past year the company has improved its on-floor programming and high-speed tooling capability, resulting in a significant improvement in work throughput and reduced tooling lead times.

“We’re recognized internationally as a high technology, full-service, cost-competitive company,” says Balint. “We’re looking forward to a new beginning.”


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