Global Fastener News

1982 FIN – PCI Group Returns to Emhart

July 15
00:00 2011

By Dick Callahan, FIN editor

February 16, 1982 FIN – PCI Group (New Bedford, Mass.) has returned to the fold. Emhart spun PCI off seven years ago because it was not allowed to own both, it and USM Corp. under an anti-trust ruling. Now, this restraint has been removed and PCI has been sold by its owners back to Emhart.
In the seven years, Charles F. DeMailly and Bob Millar, PCI’s owners, increased the business ten-fold. They also made a serious bid to take over Chicago Rivet and Machine Co. (see Fastener Industry News for May 5, 1981, page 1: May 25, 1981, page 5; December 4, 1981, page 7; and January 12, 1982, page 8). Their bid to get more than one representative on the Chicago board failed and late last year they sold the 10.1% of Chicago Rivet shares they held. It was necessary to get rid of the stock to complete the sale to Emhart, lest the new parent get into antitrust difficulties again.
PCI Group was sold for $9 million cash. “It was an economic decision,” DeMailly tells FIN. “Emhart made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.” Everyone, including DeMailly, the company’s president, and Millar, the company’s senior vice president, will stay on for a while, at least.

“I guess the general rule for selling a business, when the principals are over-aged and gray,” says DeMailly, “is to sell it when it’s at the peak of its form. I must say that USM-Emhart is the only corporation with which PCI has an absolute fit.

“Emhart is an international company. The shoe industry in this country is stagnant for various reasons but it is growing internationally. The fastener business in this country may or may not be a little bit stagnant, but internationally it is growing.

“So, looking down the road, it seemed to be the right thing to do—plus the obvious fact that something like this in cash does begin to iron out estate problems for major stockholders.”

Although he tells competitors who are hopeful PCI will now get out of whatever business they are in that “You must be mad. Emhart didn’t buy us to close us down,” he does concede that Emhart’s interest is in the shoe business. “The fact that we were 50% in other things was incidental. They are closing the circle on footwear; they want to be a total supplier to the footwear industry internationally.”

Ultimately, he says, “It’s more fun to be independent, but this is an age of big companies. One of the reasons we wanted to merge with Chicago was that we felt they were not of an optimum size and neither were we. We had to have a little faster growth than we could get out of our product line or theirs.”

PCI is a group, as its name indicates, comprising six divisions, the oldest nearly 150 years old.

• W.W. Cross Division, Jaffrey, N.H., in business since 1869, makes nails, tacks, headed and threaded specialties.
• J.C. Rhodes Division, New Bedford, Mass., dating back to 1868, makes eyelets, blind rivets, and formed metal specialties.
• PCI Consumer Products, Fall River, Mass., only going back to 1975, makes consumer packaged fasteners.
• PCI Stamping & Molding Division, Brownville, Maine, the oldest, going back to 1833, makes metal stampings, furniture fastener specialties, shoe shanks and plastic injection molded products.
• Jared Holt Division, Albany, N.Y., going back to 1834, makes waxes, wax-based finishes, polishes, etc.
• Dominion Tack & Nail Co. Ltd., Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, going back to 1908, provides all PCI products and services to the Canadian market.
The Cross and Rhodes divisions were pioneers in the development of blind rivets. The company says it is the industry leader in the U.S. in the production and sale of machine-grade tack, nail and eyelet related products.  ©1982/2011 Fastener Industry News

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