PRIMEX, PACE MERGE EXTRUSION BUSINESSES

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Sheet extruder Primex Plastics Corp. has merged with another extrusion firm, Pace Industries Inc. of Reedsburg, Wis.

The companies are privately held and would not release details.

Paul Bertsch, Primex's chairman of the board, was named chairman of the combined companies.

David Pace will continue as president, chief executive officer and director of Pace, and will maintain an ownership interest. Tony Lisauskas is president of Primex.

Bertsch said in a news release that the benefits of the merger are added diversity to the companies' product lines and the shared technology. He said the firms will continue expanding.

An industry observer who did not want to be named said the merger may relate to Pace's desire to expand its product line beyond styrenics.

The firms' operations will continue unchanged, and their names will stay the same. Pace sells polystyrene sheet to the printing, medical and food industries, mainly serving graphic arts and specialty customers.

Primex covers a range of markets with its extruded sheet products, including food packaging, medical and pharmaceutical, marine, recreational, agricultural.

Pace has one plant and 10 lines in Reedsburg. It employs about 160. David Pace estimated year-end sales for 1996 in the low $30 millions. He added that there are plans for a 60,000-square-foot plant in Reedsburg. The company plans to double in size in the next five years and triple in size in 10 years.

Primex has 70 extrusion lines at four plants: Oakwood, Ga.; Richmond, Ind.; Mesquite, Nev.; and Garfield, N.J.

Primex placed 22nd in Plastics News' 1996 film and sheet ranking with sales of $214.1 million. The company was third in sheet sales. According to the ranking, the firm had 1,050 employees.

Pace took the 104th spot with $29.2 million in the overall ranking and 27th in sheet.

Primex is a subsidiary of ICC Industries Inc., a New York manufacturer of chemicals, plastics and pharmaceutical products.