Hydro has concluded the sale of the assets and technology of its aluminium extrusion diemaking unit in Michigan to WEFA Group, which will take over the operations from December 1.
WEFA is a leading extrusion diemaker with its base in Germany, and the group already supplies Hydro's aluminium precision tubing facilities worldwide. The facility in Cedar Springs will become its first outside Europe.
Jon Veenstra, who served as plant manager for Hydro Aluminium Cedar Tools, has been appointed to lead the new company - WEFA Cedar Inc. - which will operate out of the same location. Cedar Tools has a highly skilled and competent work force and all 12 employees will receive job offers from the new company.
Hydro has operated the facility in Cedar Springs for 15 years, having acquired the site in 1994 to become the dedicated manufacturer of extrusion dies and tooling for its precision tubing facilities in North America and high-technology dies for its automotive structures plant in nearby Holland.
The facility has been part of Hydro's Automotive business sector. Salvador Biosca, who leads the sector, explains that "the business became too small to be sustainable as a dedicated unit within Hydro. We explored many options and consider WEFA to be the best home for the future."
Veenstra says the new owner offers "the technology and expertise we need to grow. We have a very good team here and I am pleased we have found a way to provide jobs and a new future for the employees.
"We have a win-win situation, and that is always a good outcome."
WEFA's home office and two of its four production facilities are based in Singen, Germany. The others are located in the Czech Republic and Switzerland. The group has about 150 employees and had turnover of approximately €25 million in 2008.
WEFA was founded in 1972 as a subsidiary of the former aluminium company Alusuisse.
Hydro is the global market leader in the field of aluminium solutions for automotive and non-automotive heat transfer applications, including air-conditioning systems.