By: Frank Esposito
April 4, 2012
ORLANDO, FLA. (April 4, 7:30 a.m. ET) — The version of PolyOne Corp. that’s here at NPE2012 is a bit different from the company that was at the event three years ago.
Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne has improved its product mix and performance since then, chairman, president and chief executive officer Stephen Newlin said at a press event at NPE 2012. The firm now generates half of its operating income from specialty products and has seen its adjusted earnings per-share soar from 13 cents to $1.02.
PolyOne also has made acquisitions in Russia and Brazil, as well as its landmark $486 million deal for liquid color and additives supplier ColorMatrix Inc. last year. The firm – which ranks as North America’s largest producer of compounds and concentrates and as one of the region’s largest resin distributors - also has hired 200 additional employees in research and development since 2009.
“We’re not growing globally to appease Wall Street,” Newlin said. “We’re doing it because our customers need us to expand globally.” He also described the R&D hirings as “a big, progressive step” for PolyOne.
PolyOne continues to seek out more acquisitions, but Newlin said future moves “have to be aligned with a specific strategy…but we might also be open to consolidation, even if that’s a type of deal we haven’t done before.”
“If we don’t ever buy another company, I’m happy with our company,” he added. “But if we can grow faster and help our company (by making acquisitions), we will.”
PolyOne also has an extensive new product initiative at NPE2012. These efforts include :
- reFlex 100, a fast-acting bio-based plasticizer. This new technology is produced from rapidly renewable plant-based feedstocks, and was developed in collaboration with Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM). It’s one of the first bioplasticizers to be awarded recognition by the USDA BioPreferred program, which has granted reFlex 100 a 94% biobased label.
With its fast-acting (high solvating) performance, reFlex 100 can be an alternative to conventional plasticizers such as BBP, DBP, and benzoates, many of which have come under regulatory pressure. With reFlex 100, customers can improve productivity, reduce the amount of plasticizer and stabilizer required, and eliminate defects for greater operational efficiency and profitability.
- IntensifySM Performance Solutions, a new service offering for customers seeking pre-colored specialty engineered material formulations. The Intensify technology team specializes in custom and innovative solutions to meet both aesthetic and performance requirements by collaborating with customers early in the design process. Intensify capabilities will extend over a full range of engineered thermoplastic materials including high-heat thermoplastics such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and polysulfone. PolyOne’s collaborative process speeds innovation and helps customers streamline their development cycle.
- a new, unique, UL-certified extrusion grade of Geon-brand PVC compounds for electrical applications. The new grade grew out of PolyOne’s work with Walton Plastics, a custom sheet extruder, and their customer, Midwest Plastic Fabricators. Midwest was looking for rigid vinyl sheet that could replace steel in outdoor electrical boxes such as control cabinets, junction boxes, and radio frequency meters. Compared to steel, vinyl offers many advantages including lighter weight, paint-free aesthetics, no corrosion, and radio frequency signal transparency, officials said. Vinyl also is non-conductive, which in some situations can prevent electrical shock.
At the press event, marketing vice president Julie McAlindon cited examples of new material applications for PolyOne. The firm “harmonized colors” on the 2012 Range Rover Evoque vehicle. Doing so eliminated the need for multiple materials. PolyOne also removed painting from a Friedrich-brand air conditioning housing by replacing painted ABS with a Geon PVC compound, she said.
Chief commercial officer Michael Kahler also commented on the ColorMatrix deal, saying there “wasn’t as much overlap” in shared business between the two firms as PolyOne initially had expected. The deal also allowed PolyOne to have :a stronger additive technology team.”
PolyOne posted sales of almost $2.9 billion in 2011 – up more than 9 percent vs. 2010. The firm’s full-year profit also climbed more than 6 percent to almost $173 million.