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Arsenal Capital buys International Fiber

By: Frank Esposito

August 28, 2013

Arsenal Capital Partners has made its 10th plastic-related acquisition in less than two years, this time buying cellulose and plastic fiber maker International Fiber Corp. for an undisclosed price.

IFC is based in North Tonawanda, N.Y., and makes insoluble fibers that are used to control viscosity in thermoplastics, as well as in many other uses, including food applications, paint thickening and strengthening rubber used in industrial belts and hoses. The firm also makes fibers that are based on nylon, polyester and acrylic resins.

IFC was founded in 1917 and operates four U.S. plants — in North Tonawanda; Nitro, W. Va.; and Oberlin and Urbana, Ohio — as well as a plant in Temse, Belgium.

Arsenal — a New York-based private equity firm — is buying IFC from private equity firm Swander Pace Capital, which has offices in San Francisco and in Bedminster, N.J.

“Arsenal is delighted to invest in a global company with a long history of innovation,” Arsenal partner John Televantos said in an Aug. 28 news release.

Arsenal senior advisor Ken Blackburn will become CEO of IFC when the deal is completed. IFC is well-positioned for growth in both the U.S. and international markets, he said in the release.

In 2012, Arsenal bought six plastic-related businesses with total sales of more than $600 million. Earlier this year, the firm bought polyurethane tire fill makers Arnco Inc. of South Gate, Calif., and Pathway Polymers Inc. of Chattanooga, Tenn., as well as ADCO Global Inc., a Lincolnshire, Ill.-based firm whose products include acrylic tapes and PU bonding. Arnco also makes PU systems.