Barnes Group closing Foboha plant in Muri, Switzerland

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Photo by Caroline Seidel Visitors pass a display for Barnes Group's Molding Solutions unit at K 2016.

Barnes Group Inc. is closing the Foboha mould plant in Muri, Switzerland, and moving the operation into other facilities, including an Otto Männer factory in Au, Switzerland.

Barnes reported the news in its second-quarter filing. Barnes bought Otto Männer, the builder of hot runners, moulds and micromoulding systems, in 2013, and acquired rotating-mould specialist Foboha last year. Both units, part of Barnes’ Molding Solutions group, are based in Germany.

In a July 28 conference call with analysts, Barnes CEO Patrick Dempsey said Foboha’s sales increased 50% in the second quarter of 2017, compared with the first quarter. He said that type of big gain can happen in the mould business, citing the “lumpy nature of mould sales,” but it came with low profit margins.

“So the lower margins are an area we are addressing with very definitive plans,” he said. Company officials authorized the closing in June, according to financial filings.

The closing of the Foboha plant in Switzerland, which employs 60, was done to improve profitability, Dempsey said. “The team is working a series of very deliberate actions, of which we announced the consolidation of the Swiss operations,” he said.

Barnes also is closing a 30-employee Associated Spring plant, which makes metal springs and stampings.

Foboha makes rotating-cube moulds. Männer’s strength has been in stack moulds, as well as hot runners.

Dempsey said Barnes officials want to leverage Foboha and Männer, which he said are strong businesses within Molding Solutions.

“Our goal ultimately will be to expand our aftermarket offerings as it pertains to this business on a global basis, whether it’s North America, Europe or Asia,” he told analysts.

The Molding Solutions unit is part of Barnes’ Industrial segment, which generated second-quarter sales of $251.8m (€212m), a 23% increase from year-ago second quarter sales of $204.5m (€172.5m). The increase was mainly driven by ongoing strength in Molding Solutions and the company’s Nitrogen Gas Products unit.

Under Molding Solutions, Dempsey said, the Synventive hot runner business is enjoying very good results, mainly because of the automotive market. Barnes, based in Bristol, Conn., and traded on the New York Stock Exchange, started Molding Solutions in 2012 by purchasing Synventive.

The most recent plastics-related deal was completed 3 April, when Barnes bought Gammaflux, a supplier of temperature controllers for hot runners and sequential valve gate controls.

Barnes is a global provider of industrial and aerospace components — including advanced machining capability.

Companywide, Barnes generated sales of $364.5m (€307m), a 19% increase from the second quarter 2016 sales of $306.7m (€258.8m). Of that increase, 11% came from organic sales growth, and 8% came from acquisitions.

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