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A. Schulman acquires thermoplastics manufacturer Perrite Group

By: Frank Esposito

September 3, 2013

Materials firm A. Schulman Inc. has acquired British compounder and resin distributor Perrite Group for about $52 million.

Perrite is based in Cheshire, England, and employs 220 at plants in the United Kingdom, France and Malaysia. The firm has annual sales of $140 million and makes flame-retardant, impact-modified, anti-microbial, color and other types of compounds based on a variety of commodity and engineering resins. It also distributes resin for Sabic and other suppliers.

Perrite sells into numerous markets. Including electrical, automotive and industrial. In a Sept. 3 news release, Schulman Chairman, President and CEO Joseph Gingo said that the acquisition "will allow [Schulman] to strengthen our European niche Engineered Plastics business." The deal also will move Schulman into "adjacent markets," he said, such as insulation materials for the sub-sea flexible oil pipe market.

It's the second acquisition this year for Fairlawn, Ohio-based Schulman and its eighth overall in the last four years. Earlier this year, the firm bought compounder/distributor Network Polymers Inc. of Akron, Ohio, for about $50 million. Gingo said in the release that Schulman "will remain aggressive" in pursuing other acquisitions.

Schulman also earlier this year offered almost $600 million to buy specialty chemicals maker and compounder Ferro Corp. of Mayfield Heights, Ohio, but their offer was rebuffed by Ferro management.

In the first nine months of its 2013 fiscal year, Schulman's sales were up about two percent to almost $1.6 billion. But the firm's profit fell almost 28 percent to less than $30 million when compared to the same period in fiscal 2012. Schulman generates most of its sales from Europe, where economic recovery has lagged.

On Wall Street, Schulman's per-share stock price was just above $28 in early trading Sept. 4. That price is almost 3 percent lower than its Jan. 1 level.