German firm buys CHMI

Date: 22 July 2011
New plant to open some place in Lee CountyTri-State Area residents could use some encouraging words, especially about local economic development and the potential for jobs in the area.

So here they are: KLmegla America, LLC, this week closed the deal for the purchase of Custom Hardware Manufacturing Inc., known locally and throughout the world of specialized housing and commercial hardware as CHMI.

KLmegla America’s parent company, KL Megla of Eitorf, Germany, worked with Touch Red, Inc., and State Central Bank of Keokuk to buy CHMI’s assets. KL Megla is a multinational hardware manufacturer known globally for its design and production of fine glass hardware.

CHMI closed its doors in late 2009 after struggling for more than a year with the effects of the housing downturn and financial recession that swept through the United States.

At its peak performance, CHMI, which was located in Keokuk’s Kindustry Park, employed 105 workers, a potential that could be realized in the future.

“The acquisition is a timely opportunity that will inject stability and confidence into the market,” said KL Megla Chief Executive Officer Peter Reinecke.

The transaction gives KL Megla sole ownership of CHMI’s “outstanding portfolio of intellectual property,” according to a company statement.

KL Megla intends to add to the reach and diversity of its California-based American operation by establishing a custom fabrication and distribution facility in the Midwest – namely, Lee County.

“KL Megla has been an international hardware icon for more than 50 years,” said Jared Williams, director of sales and marketing for KL Megla. “Our task is to ensure it continues to set the pace for the next century. We have the great privilege of introducing this legacy to the most discriminating consumer market in the world – the United States.”

Williams said the company has been looking at properties in Fort Madison for the new manufacturing and distribution facility, “but there are many variables.” The company has not ruled out locating in an interim building, finding an existing building for a permanent location or building a new facility, he added.

Fort Madison’s river port would be a plus for KL Megla. The company does quite a bit of container shipping.

In the meantime, the process of setting up the new Midwestern operation is under the direction of Rodney Garrett of Fort Madison, KL Megla’s global director of engineering.

Williams describes Garrett as “among the most respected engineers in the world of glass fittings. He is one of our chief inventors globally and the most well-connected engineer that I know of here in the states.”

Garrett said four employees from CHMI have been retained, and a small engineering office is in operation in Fort Madison.

By Monday, Garrett will be working with several employees sent from the California office to find out what Garrett needs to have done.

“We’re going to stay in Lee County and take advantage of the enterprise zone,” Garrett said.

Keokuk and Fort Madison have enterprise zone status which gives sales tax incentives to new and existing industry.

Garrett said he started out as a tool and die maker who could “accept nothing nearly right or good enough. The CHMI product was and is the best in the industry.”

600450 German firm buys CHMI

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