M.A. Hanna Co. officials said the Cleveland-based specialty chemicals company is setting its sights this year on acquisitions, including some in Europe, that eventually could add $75 million to $100 million in annual sales.
Douglas McGregor, who replaced Martin Walker as president and chief executive officer in January, told shareholders at their May 7 annual meeting that the company, which broke the $2 billion mark in sales last year for the first time, has set a goal of reaching $4 billion in total sales by 2001. That goal includes a target of about $1 billion in international sales, McGregor said.
The company's European holdings include color and additive plants in France, Belgium, Sweden, Germany and England and plastic compounding works in Germany and Spain. Barb Gould, director of investor relations and communications, said Hanna has has ``a pretty long list of companies with a strategic fit of product or market'' for possible acquisitions.
In Europe, that list would include facilities in Italy, a sizable market where Hanna currently has no production works.
Gould said the company still is looking at possibilities in Latin America, particularly in Brazil. Hanna already operates a color plant near Mexico City.
While the Asian market is still a healthy possibility, Gould said a lack of quality technology makes acquisitions there more difficult. Hanna's Asian holdings include a recently opened color plant near Shanghai, China, and a joint compounding venture scheduled to open this year in Suzhou, China.
Financial data presented by McGregor included Hanna posting its 20th consecutive quarter of year-over-year profit growth and its fifth consecutive year of record profit from continuing operations. Sales grew 9 percent and profit was up 19 percent last year.
The company also announced several major personnel moves.
McGregor was elected chairman, effective July 1, succeeding Walker, who will retire June 30.
The board appointed a senior leadership committee that will assume greater responsibility for global planning and management. Members include Kent Darragh, president of the firm's Cadillac Plastic business unit; Garth Henry, vice president of international operations; and Douglas Schrank, vice president of M.A. Hanna Plastics Americas.
Darragh, Henry and Schrank also were elected senior vice presidents of operations.
Darragh will take over rubber compounding operations while maintaining his position with Cadillac. Schrank's responsibilities were expanded to include M.A. Hanna de Mexico and Latin American expansion.
In other news, the company announced that its engineered materials unit has expanded to include the thermoplastic elastomers business unit.
The TPE business headquarters will move to the company's new engineered materials facility being built in Atlanta. The engineered materials unit was based in Dyersburg, Tenn.
Because of growth in the TPE market, the firm said it may expand TPE capacity to two of its manufacturing sites. Those locations were not disclosed.
Hanna only produces TPE compounds at its North Ridgeville, Ohio, plant.