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Compounder expands in Wisconsin, plans acquisitions in China

By: Frank Esposito

December 9, 2013

Materials firm Saco Polymers Inc. is building a 20,000 square-foot corporate office at its headquarters site in Sheboygan, Wis.

Saco — a supplier of cross-linked compounds and similar products — also has signed a letter of intent to buy two Chinese compounding plants, although that deal hasn’t been completed.

The office will be in the same industrial park that includes the firm’s 140,000-square-foot manufacturing plant. Saco has received a $900,000 loan from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. for the project. The new office will house the firm’s administrative and sales staff, as well as expanded research and design operations.

Saco “made a strategic decision” to choose Sheboygan County for the expansion, according to Tom Wurm, human resources director for Aesse Investments Ltd., Saco’s parent firm.

“Michigan and Ohio were under consideration, but we’ve been very successful with the Sheboygan County employee base and business partners here,” he said in a news release.

Saco now plans to grow aggressively over the next five years. “If we’re not doing something new, if we’re not gaining market share, we’re losing market share,” Wurm said. “Successful companies don’t stand still. Our track record of growth … is a testament to that.”

Wurm credited the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp. — and its director Dane Checolinski — with connecting Saco with key municipal and state decision makers. “They made dealing with the government easy for us,” he said.

The Chinese deal includes Saco paying about $15 million to buy the two businesses — operating as Suzhou Huiye Chemical & Light Industry Co. Ltd. and Suzhou Huiye Plastic Industry Co. Ltd. — from Singapore-based materials firm Dynamic Colours Ltd. for about $15 million, according to an Asian media report. Both firms are in Jiangsu province and make color compounds for the electrical and electronic appliance market, according to the report.

The acquisition is being made through AEI Compounds Ltd., a British compounding firm that Saco bought for almost $14 million in 2011. Saco will post annual sales of more than $100 million in 2013 — more than double 2006 levels — primarily making compounds for the wire and cable and pipe markets. The firm’s sales have been growing at a 15 percent annual rate.

Saco also owns and operates a plant in Michigan, as well as specialty compounder Macromeric in Aurora, Ohio.