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Washington Penn buys specialty compounded PP business from ExxonMobil

By: Frank Esposito

June 6, 2014

Polypropylene compounding leader Washington Penn Plastic Co. has grown even more in that market by acquiring the North American specialty compounded PP products business of ExxonMobil Chemical Co.

The deal follows ExxonMobil’s decision to stop producing those products in North America, officials with Washington, Pa.-based Washington Penn said in a June 6 news release. ExxonMobil customers impacted by the move now will transition to Washington Penn, they added.

“The product technologies are very complementary, and offer some exciting new opportunities to support the needs of our customers,” Washington Penn President Martin Devine said in the release.

In a June 6 e-mail, an ExxonMobil spokesman said that the firm had made those PP compounds at a plant in Baton Rouge, La. That plant had been operated for ExxonMobil by Chemtrusion Inc., a toll compounding firm based in Houston. Production there will stop by the end of 2014, the spokesman added.

No further details were included in the release, and officials with Washington Penn declined to comment on what facilities or equipment are included in the deal. Both Washington Penn and ExxonMobil rank among North America’s 30 largest compounders, according to Plastics News  estimates.

The deal is the second in two months for Washington Penn parent Audia International. On May 20, Audia — also based in Washington, Pa. — announced that it would spend more than $50 million to build a major plastic materials plant in Nobles, Georgia. A local media report said that the new plant will cover 240,000 square feet on a 25-acre lot.

Audia officials said the new Georgia plant will support the three U.S.-based materials companies that the firm owns — Washington Penn; Uniform Color Co., a color concentrates maker in Holland, Mich.; and Southern Polymer Inc., a resin distributor in Atlanta.

Audia employs more than 1,000 at 10 manufacturing sites worldwide, including six used by Washington Penn. Earlier this year, the firm bought a liquid masterbatch plant in France from BASF SE.