London Industries renamed

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick

London Industries unveiled its new name, Nissen Chemitec America (NCA), on June 2. In attendance at the renaming ceremony were: (from left) Sean Hughes, executive director of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce; Shinya Kawakami, NCA president; London Mayor David Eades; Kaneyasu Maeda, NCA director; Madison County Commissioner Chris Snyder, County Commissioner David Dhume; Katsuhiro Ichimiya, chairman of Nissen Chemitec Corp.; County Commissioner Bob Hackett; Shawn Hendrix, NCA senior vice president; and Bill Beathard of London City Council.

As of June 1, auto parts maker London Industries has a new name—Nissen Chemitec America.

The name change is not the result of an ownership shift, but instead represents a new chapter for the company as it celebrates its 20th anniversary and a recent financial and operational turnaround.

London Industries was founded in 1988 as a joint venture between Worthington Industries and Nissen Chemitec Corp., a family-owned business based in Japan. In 1998, Nissen Chemitec became sole owner of the company.

“The path that London Industries Inc. took after the acquisition was not a smooth one. We temporarily suffered from quality deterioration and financial loss,” said Nissen Chemitec Chairman Katsuhiro Ichimiya at a renaming ceremony held June 2 on London Industries’ front lawn.

Through the rough years, Nissen Chemitec continued to provide the company with financial and technical support.

Thanks to that support and improvements that began three years ago in quality, delivery, technology and associate involvement, London Industries is profitable again. Its 250 employees produce auto parts using plastic injection molding for Honda, Toyota and Mitsubishi.

“This name change celebrates the resilience of our associates who have led this rebirth and whose efforts have virtually created a new company by the manner in which they execute both their job today and their job of tomorrow,” Ichimiya said.

Many of the employees have been with the London company at least five years. Some were there when the first machines were installed in 1988.

“I have had a few of our associates and colleagues ask me many times recently, ‘Why are you changing the name,’ ” said Shawn Hendrix, senior vice president of the newly named Nissen Chemitec America. “My response is always the same: ‘After you walk through our facility, do you think you just toured the London Industries of old?’ The answer is always a resounding, ‘No.’ ”

Hendrix said the fact that the manufacturing company remains in London can be attributed to the “pioneering spirit” of the late Kikuo Ichimiya and his son, Katshuiro Ichimiya, who now heads up the corporation.

At the renaming ceremony, London Mayor David Eades commended Nissen Chemitec for providing job security to many families over the last two decades.

He added, “We’d like to do anything we can to help you to continue to grow.”

Nissen Chemitec Corp. celebrated its 50th anniversary in Japan in November 2007. In addition to Nissen Chemitec America in London and seven operations in Japan, the family business runs com-panies in Thailand and Singapore.

The newly named Nissen Chemitec America is located at 350 E. High St. in London.

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