Sonnax expands to New Jersey
BELLOWS FALLS -- The newest business Sonnax Industries has obtained is one the company wrangled with during a civil lawsuit that lasted nearly a year.
Sonnax, an employee-owned company, announced on Friday it acquired Valve Body Xpress and Valve Body Xtras of Paulsboro, N.J., three months after the dismissal of a patent violation suit. According to Sonnax, VBX was founded in 2006 and is a leading remanufacturer of automatic transmission valve bodies and solenoids, while Valve Body Xtras is a VBX subsidiary focused on valve body components.
The civil suit was filed in July 2013, but dismissed in May 2014. David Wallace, the vice president of operations for Sonnax, had no comment on the lawsuit's resolution, but said the deal to acquire VBX had been in the works for a couple of months and was finalized on Friday.
"(VBX) is in the same industry. It's a growth opportunity for Sonnax and an opportunity for both the companies to work together and serve the industry better," he said via telephone from Paulsboro. Steve Jaussaud, the Sonnax senior vice president of product development, had previously told the Reformer that Sonnax, founded in 1979, creates high-precision parts for the automotive aftermarket, as opposed to parts for companies that make brand-new vehicles. He said most of Sonnax' products pertain to automatic transmission.
According to a press release, Valve Body Xpress President Tim LaCerra will remain with VBX in the role of vice president of remanufacturing. The company will continue to operate independently in New Jersey and its 35 employees will become shareholders in the Sonnax Employee Stock Ownership Plan. According to LaCerra, this will allow him to leave his ownership role in VBX while providing excellent growth potential and an equity stake in the company to VBX employees.
Wallace said the VBX site will remain a remanufacturing facility operated as Valve Body Xpress, though now it will be a division of Sonnax, which purchased a former Bellows Falls manufacturing space from Chroma Technology Corp. on July 7 and will utilize the location to hold the business' research and development teams. Sonnax now has four facilities in its arsenal of headquarters and distribution centers. Wallace told the Reformer Sonnax also has a small warehouse in California and several remote employees who work out of their homes.
In a statement in a press release, Sonnax President & CEO Tommy Harmon said this acquisition combines the resources of two successful companies to better meet the repair challenges of increasingly sophisticated modern transmissions. He said Sonnax is well-known throughout the industry for its innovative engineering, great quality and outstanding technical support and training -- and the volume of valve bodies rebuilt by VBX and the company's hands-on remanufacturing expertise will open the door to expanded Sonnax product development and testing capabilities.
"Valve Body Xpress is a successful growing company," Harmon said. "We will continue to allow them to do what they do best while exploring opportunities for synergies and discovering areas where Sonnax can provide guidance to VBX and vice versa."
Domenic Poli can be reached at email@example.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.
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