FRANCE'S AXSON BUYS AKEMI INC.

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HOUSTON — Axson SA, a French resin and composite material manufacturer, has broadened its market reach with the purchase of a Michigan firm and, earlier, the establishment of a Mexico City business.

An Axson subsidiary acquired, mostly with stock, the Akemi Inc. unit from holding company Maxco Inc. of Lansing, Mich., the owner since 1968.

Akemi, which employs 30, formulates and makes polyesters and epoxy-based resins for use as adhesives or repair compounds in construction and public works markets. It also manufactures structural foams.

Axson will retain the Akemi name only for product identification.

Akemi's operations in Eaton Rapids, Mich., occupy a 20-year-old, 11,000-square-foot facility and, since February 1996, a new 44,000-square-foot plant in a nearby industrial park. Nicholas Tartaglione continues as general manager.

A subsidiary, Axson North America Inc., completed the purchase Jan. 27, according to Alain Grandjean, executive vice president of that division, which is based in Houston.

Axson SA employs 200 and focuses on automotive, aerospace and defense markets.

The company manufactures epoxy, polyurethane and silicone-based resins and makes tooling and prototyping systems in a 100,000-square-foot plant in St. Ouen-l'Aum√īne, France, near Paris.

In April 1996, Axson expanded operations to Mexico City, opening a business that produces epoxies, laminating resins and surface coats.

Axson acquired the European resins business of Hexcel Corp. in December 1994 for about $8.7 million in a management buyout.