MUSKEGON, MI – Port City Group has merged with North America's largest, full-service aluminum, zinc and magnesium die casting company.
Pace Industries, a Fayetteville, Ark.-based company announced the acquisition of the Muskegon-based Port City Group on July 1. John Essex, CEO of Port City Group, said the company will be able to increase its capacity for business in Muskegon and in other parts of the country.
"It's a great thing," he said. "We're excited, our customers are excited. It just makes logical sense. We wanted to create this merger so we had access to Pace's resources but still had the same local control.
Port City Group will become a division of Pace Industries, which consists of 12 divisions and 21 facilities in the United States and Mexico worth approximately $600 million. The Port City name will remain and Essex will remain the CEO. He will also serve on the Pace Board of Directors and become one of its largest shareholders while leasing Pace's automotive growth strategy.
"Blending the strengths of Pace and Port City Group will result in a formidable automotive supplier and preferred non-automotive supplier in the die casting industry and build our capabilities to deliver better quality, service and value to customers," said Pace Industries President and CEO Scott Bull.
Essex said Port City's 670 employees won't likely see much of a change and the company outside of a small label that states "A Division of Pace Industries" on its products. He added that the company could see employment growth of 5 to 8 percent over the next year.
The merger with Pace should also allow the automotive-focused Port City to diversify its capabilities, which in turn should allow it to avoid downturns like it experienced in 2008-09. Less than 20 percent of Pace's capital is derived from the auto industry. It is also heavily involved in recreation vehicles, medical, lighting and electric, aviation and more.
We want to continue to grow here (Muskegon)," Essex said. "This is my home, it always had been, but this gives us really good tools to do that and avoid some of the impact we saw in 08-09 by diversifying."