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One of the largest PVC pipe extruders in the eastern United States, National Pipe & Plastics Inc., has been acquired, and the new Japanese owners want to expand into siding and profiles — perhaps by acquiring more firms.

The owners are Nissho Iwai American Corp., its parent, the Japanese conglomerate Nissho Iwai Corp. and chemical maker Kaneka Corp. Nissho Iwai American, a trading company based in New York, owns 80 percent of the pipe company. Nissho Iwai Corp. of Tokyo and Kaneka Corp. of Osaka, Japan, each own 10 percent.

The pipe company is capitalized at $10 million. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The deal, first reported in October, became effective Dec. 30. The acquisition continues a trend toward foreign ownership of U.S. PVC pipe extruders.

``Our plans are to diversify into other PVC products, such as house siding,'' said Toshihisa Horikoshi, vice president of the Chemicals Department of Nissho Iwai American. He said profile extrusion also is being discussed. The strategy may include acquisitions, he said in a Feb. 4 telephone interview.

The new owners will continue to run both National Pipe & Plastics factories in Vestal, N.Y., and Greensboro, N.C., according to J. Allan McLean, who has been retained as president and chief executive officer. About 240 people work at both plants. The owners also will retain agents and sales representatives.

Horikoshi said parent company Nissho Iwai Corp. already is a major vinyl extruder. NIC runs seven plants, all in Japan, that make PVC pipe, siding, film, wall coverings and other products.

National Pipe & Plastics used to be called LCP National Plastics.

The pipe company processes about 160 million pounds of PVC — 100 million pounds on 18 extrusion lines in New York and 60 million pounds on 11 lines in North Carolina. The pipe ranges in diameter from 1-1/2 inch to 24 inches. Markets include water, sewer, irrigation and conduit.

National Pipe & Plastics ranked 29th on last year's Plastics News chart of North American pipe, profile and tubing extruders, with 1995 sales of $65.8 million.

The other 10 percent owner, Kaneka, makes vinyl, ABS and foamed polystyrene and PVC impact modifiers. In the United States, the company has a PVC additives plant in Pasadena, Texas, and a small plant in Delaware City, Del., making emulsion PVC resin. But Kaneka does not sell or manufacture PVC pipe-grade resin in North America, a Kaneka spokesman said.

The deal marks another move to non-U.S. ownership by a PVC pipe extruder. Other major U.S. pipe extruders, and their parent firms, are: Pacific Western Extruded Plastics Co. of Eugene, Ore., (Mitsubishi Chemical America Inc.); North American Pipe Corp. of Houston (Westlake Group); CanTex Inc. of Mineral Wells, Texas, (Sumitomo Corp.); JM Manufacturing Co. Inc. of Livingston, N.J., (Formosa Plastics Corp.); and CertainTeed Corp. of Valley Forge, Pa., (Compagnie de Saint-Gobain).

In 1991, National Pipe & Plastics filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. The company is now finishing up liquidating its debt, McLean said. The bankruptcy judge approved the sale of the company.