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Eastman buys window film maker Commonwealth

By: Frank Esposito

March 14, 2014

Eastman Chemical Co. has acquired window film maker Commonwealth Laminating & Coating Inc. for an undisclosed price.

The deal includes Commonwealth’s manufacturing plant and headquarters in Martinsville, Va., as well as nine sales distribution centers. The firm employs about 240 and has annual sales of about $100 million in window films and specialty films for automotive, architectural and protective uses, including solar protection.

Commonwealth had been a customer of Eastman’s “in a limited manner,” according to Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman. Eastman Executive Vice President Brad Lich said the deal “extends our performance films global offerings for solar control window film and protective film applications.”

Commonwealth President and CEO Steve Phillips said he was confident that Eastman is the right partner, because the company “values the SunTek [film] brand, the experience and dedication of our global workforce, our innovative products and technology, and our diverse and loyal customer base.”

Eastman is buying Commonwealth from private equity firms Transportation Resource Partners of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and Fenway Partners LLC of New York. Commonwealth had been majority-owned by private equity firm Riverside Co. of Cleveland from 2006-2010.

The deal is Eastman’s second film-related transaction in less than three years. In 2012, the firm bought a window and performance film plant in Henry County, Va.

Late last year, Eastman officials said they would invest $40 million to upgrade that plant, which makes window films for automotive and architectural markets.

Eastman also operates a film plant in Dresden, Germany.

When the transaction closes later this year, Eastman will run Commonwealth as part of its Advanced Materials unit, which includes Tritan-brand copolyester. Eastman makes a wide range of specialty chemical products. The firm employs 14,000 worldwide and posted sales of $9.4 billion in 2013.