BREAKING: International manufacturer buys Dayton company Liteflex

Published: Thursday, October 10, 2019 @ 9:34 AM

In this 2008 file photo, John Prikkel, president of Liteflex, and Ray Blatz, the company’s chief financial officer, stand near a former Delphi/Inland plant on Maywood Avenue in Dayton. Prikkel owns Liteflex, which makes composite-material vehicle leaf springs. With a grant from the city of Dayton, the company intended (at the time this photo was taken) to move molding work into the Maywood building. Prikkel said Thursday that he has sold Liteflex to Hendrickson International. FILE
In this 2008 file photo, John Prikkel, president of Liteflex, and Ray Blatz, the company’s chief financial officer, stand near a former Delphi/Inland plant on Maywood Avenue in Dayton. Prikkel owns Liteflex, which makes composite-material vehicle leaf springs. With a grant from the city of Dayton, the company intended (at the time this photo was taken) to move molding work into the Maywood building. Prikkel said Thursday that he has sold Liteflex to Hendrickson International. FILE

International heavy-duty truck suspension manufacturer Hendrickson has bought Dayton composite springs manufacturer Liteflex, John Prikkel, Liteflex president, told the Dayton Daily News Thursday morning.

Hendrickson bought the entire Liteflex company, including manufacturing operations on Holiday Drive in Englewood and Maywood Avenue in Dayton, Prikkel said.

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“They’re going to remain in Dayton, yes,” Prikkel said Thursday in response to questions from this news outlet. “I’ve probably told you too much.”

He said Hendrickson was preparing a news release on the purchase. A message seeking was left for a representative of Hendrickson.

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This news outlet was first to report this week that limited liability companies with apparent ties to Hendrickson purchased buildings and land in West Dayton for a total of more than $1.7 million, an unusually large investment for that section of the city.

Hendrickson McCall LLC was identified in recent Montgomery County records as buying 3.7 acres on McCall Street, just west of U.S. 35, for $1,108,791. Also purchased by a similarly named entity, Hendrickson Maywood LLC: 4.7 acres nearly adjacent on Maywood Avenue, for $599,800.

Reached earlier this week, a Hendrickson spokesman said the company would have more to say on the purchase of the properties later this month.

With about 103 Dayton-area employees, Liteflex produces composite leaf springs primarily for original equipment manufacturers but also for the aftermarket.

Liteflex works for the passenger vehicle market, as well as the light-duty and heavy-duty commercial vehicle markets.

About two years ago, Liteflex activated its third local plant, at 3600 Maywood Ave. in Dayton, boosting its production space by more than 200,000 square feet and tripling capacity.

The company exports about 80 percent of what it produces, with destination countries including China and Turkey, Prikkel said Thursday. He called opening the Maywood facility the “high point” of his career.

But Prikkel referred follow-up questions to Hendrickson. He did not offer terms of the sale.

Hendrickson has been in expansion mode recently. The company announced a new $50 million plant in the village of Navarre, Ohio this spring,

More than 30 acres were purchased from a Stark County farm property to become the home of Hendrickson’s sixth trailer suspension plant.

“This $50 million, state-of-the-art facility will support local and Canadian customers as well as other Hendrickson divisions,” the business said in a April news release. “It is our 11th manufacturing site in the United States.”

An international company based in Woodridge, Ill., with operations in Canton, Ohio and elsewhere, Hendrickson is a manufacturer and supplier of medium- and heavy-duty mechanical, elastomeric and air suspensions; integrated and non-integrated axle and brakes systems; tire pressure control systems; auxiliary lift axle systems; parabolic and multi-leaf springs; and components for the truck and heavy-duty vehicle industry.

Tracing its history back to 1913, Hendrickson has operations in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Austria, Romania, Turkey, India, China and Australia.