Whitmore Starts $20 Million Expansion


Whitmore Manufacturing Co., a maker of industrial lubricants, has begun expansion at its Rockwell, Texas, headquarters, which when completed in 2013 will add 120,000 square feet to its corporate facilities.

In addition to increasing the size of its corporate headquarters to a combined 200,000 square feet, the company will make improvements to its existing production and laboratory facilities, reported Jeff Kilpatrick, Whitmores president and CEO. The company makes specialized lubricants, as well as greases, coatings, sealants and contamination control breathers.

The company will build a 70,000 square foot warehouse that will house corporate offices. Production and research and development facilities for its Air Sentry division, which makes contamination control breathers, will be relocated there from the companys existing 100,000 square feet plant.

The vacated space will be converted into R&D, quality control and production of mining, railroad, industrial and food grade lubricants. Lithium-based, calcium-based and aluminum-based greases also are manufactured there.

Expected to cost $20 million, the expansion will add 20 to 40 employees to Whitmores workforce over the next three to five years, Kilpatrick said. Approximately 100 people work at the Rockwell facility, which the company has occupied since 1982.

Despite the rocky economy, Whitmore has experienced double-digit growth in sales and earnings for the past five years, excluding 2009, and Kilpatrick projects similar growth in the future. He said the privately owned company recorded an 18 percent growth in revenue for its 2012 fiscal year, which ended March 31.This growth has required Whitmore to invest in new technology, automation and infrastructure, he said.

Kilpatrick cited strong support from Rockwell Economic Development Corp., which provided financing and other incentives. Our partnership with the REDC is a great example of how to grow economic development and stimulate job creation, he added.

Its been a busy summer at Whitmore. In May, the company acquired QHi Rail Ltd., a United Kingdom-based manufacturer of gauge face and rail lubricators for freight and passenger railway systems in 20 countries in Europe, Australia and South America. Whitmore manufactures gauge face and switch plate lubricants.

QHi has been a distributor for us for more than six years in numerous countries, Kilpatrick said. They have developed some of the most innovative rail lubrication application equipment available today.

He said Whitmore will use its global distribution network to expand the sales of QHi products. The company will market QHi products in North and South America under the Whitmore rail brand.

According to Kilpatrick, QHi, which was founded in 1997, recorded a 16 percent increase in revenue for 2010-2011. Revenues for FY2012 grew 22 percent.

Whitmore is owned by Capital Southwest Corp. of Dallas a publicly-owned business development company with net assets of $552.0 million as of June 30, 2012.

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