Gloucester Engineering Co. (GEC) has expanded its technology offerings with the acquisition of Pearl Technologies, a Savannah, NY-based manufacturer of consumable parts for converting and extrusion capital equipment.

Gloucester Engineering buys Pearl Technologies
Gloucester Engineering buys Pearl Technologies

Pearl’s technologies complement those of GEC and ensure the combined company will continue to build innovative systems and provide aftermarket support for GEC’s global installed base, estimated to consist of more than $2 billion in operating assets, the company stated. Headquartered in Gloucester, MA, GEC is a designer and manufacturer of advanced engineered equipment for the plastic extrusion industry. GEC stated this acquisition allows the company to build upon Pearl’s portfolio of patented intellectual property. GEC has invigorated its own research and development program, which recently issued two new patents and has several others pending or under review, the company stated.

Since 1985, Pearl has provided customers with customized aftermarket products such as punches and wicket attachments for converting equipment. In addition to punching attachments for wicketing, handle holes, hanger holes and venting attachments, Pearl is known for custom-made attachments, which are sold to various end users in the medical and food packaging industries. Extrusion products are primarily used in the blown film industry and include products such as gusset boards, bubble guides, bubble cages, and retrofit side guides, most of which are custom-made.

Mark Steele, CEO of Gloucester Engineering, said that Pearl’s products accelerate the company’s growth in aftermarket segments and extends GEC’s product reach further into converting. “GEC is focused on innovation and product leadership and will continue to target companies, like Pearl, that have strong positions in attractive segments of the market,” he said. “Customers that want to enhance their business through innovation will look to Gloucester Engineering and Pearl as important partners that can provide them with higher yields, lower costs, increased revenue, and greater profit.”

Bob Tewksbury, CEO of Pearl Technologies, has about 22 years of experience in flexible packaging and blown film. He will continue to lead Pearl Technologies and will work closely with GEC. “We are excited to be partnering with Gloucester Engineering,” he said. “Gloucester’s experience, leadership position in plastic extrusion machinery, global reach, and financial backing will provide added sources of creativity, distribution and service to continue our growth and innovation. Access to GEC’s significant global network will accelerate our growth, particularly in extrusion and international markets.”

GEC recently announced a new $1 million loan commitment from the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp. (MGCC). The loan was presented by MGCC President Charles Grigsby at a ceremony marking GEC’s 50th anniversary. Grigsby said at the time that GEC was building an order backlog in the current fiscal year and has increased staffing to 120 people. Over 65% of the company’s products are exported, which Grigsby noted as proof that a Massachusetts company can effectively compete in the international manufacturing market, PlasticsToday reported.

The interest rate on the loan is 3%, and Grigsby said that if any amount is advanced, it could be converted to a term note at 10%. “Our expectation is that after GEC demonstrates a year of profitability,” Grigsby said. “Traditional bank financing will supplant the MGCC loan, and we will be replaced.” GEC emerged from bankruptcy in 2010 after an investment by New York private equity firm Blue Wolf Capital Partners, which is a majority stakeholder in the company.

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