CHARLESTOWN – NIBCO, a manufacturer of valves, fittings and flow control products, has sold its Charlestown facility, as well as one of its product lines.
On Tuesday, the Viking Group announced in a news release its acquisition of BlazeMaster – NIBCO’s fire protection CPVC fittings business, which is one piece of NIBCO’s operations at its Charlestown facility, located at 105 Quality Court just off Ind. 62.
However, the release, which can be viewed here, did not mention that the facility was also acquired by the Viking Group.
In a later telephone interview with the News and Tribune, Jeff Norton, marketing vice president for the Viking Group, confirmed his company acquired the Charlestown facility, along with the CPVC fittings line named in the deal.
Under the terms of the agreement, according to Viking Group’s news release, NIBCO branded CPVC fittings will continue to be produced at the facility through April 2019.
Moving forward, Norton confirmed that the Viking Group — which is a leading manufacturer and distributor of fire protection products and services — intends to maintain production of the fire sprinkler CPVC fittings at the Charlestown facility and continue to manufacture CPVC pipe at its Huntsville, Alabama, facility.
Norton, who is based in Michigan, said his company would be keeping “between 25 to 30 employees” currently working on NIBCO’s fire protection CPVC fittings line at the Charlestown plant. He said, however, that he didn't know what would happen to the remaining NIBCO employees who work on other lines at the plant.
NIBCO initially deferred all questions pertaining to the deal to the Viking Group. However, the News and Tribune sought additional input from NIBCO when it was clear the agreement involved more than production of a product.
After repeated requests were made throughout the week to determine the impact to plant workers, NIBCO released the following statement Friday afternoon:
“The sale of NIBCO’s BlazeMaster business to the Viking Group will have no immediate impact on NIBCO associates who work in Charlestown, Ind. Consistent with the Viking Group’s news release of Jan. 8, 2019, Viking is going through a hiring process. NIBCO will start a process of consolidation of the industrial plastics production to its other U.S.-based plastic manufacturing plants and that process is expected to last through most of 2019. NIBCO associates will be given the opportunity to transfer to other NIBCO locations.”
According to its corporate website, NIBCO operates 12 manufacturing plants and distribution centers throughout the United States, Mexico, and Poland, with its world headquarters based in Elkhart.
Charlestown Mayor Bob Hall said he was contacted by NIBCO about the acquisition, but had no additional details. Hall estimated NIBCO employs about 90 workers total. He said he would be learning more details about the transition in the coming weeks.
Norton said representatives from his company’s human resources department will work to transition over the NIBCO employees who will be retained to work on the fire sprinkler CPVC fittings line.
Norton did not know how many remaining NIBCO employees would be affected by this change. NIBCO declined to provide that information to the News and Tribune.
The Viking Group’s business is very specific to the fire protection industry, Norton said, adding the other products made by NIBCO at the Charlestown facility do not apply to the Viking Group’s needs. This is why those lines were not acquired in the deal.
James Golinveaux, president and CEO of The Viking Group, said in the release: “This move further strengthens Viking’s position in the residential sprinkler market. By owning the entire process, from manufacture through delivery, we’ve enhanced our unique ability to offer customers a true single-source solution for CPVC fire sprinkler systems.”
Norton added during his interview, “This makes us a one-stop shop to meet all of our clients’ needs.”
The Viking Group is “excited” about this acquisition, Norton said, because it aligns with their business strategy to “grow and expand” this service line.
“We’re fully committed to that facility and to the Charlestown area,” he said.