Lubrizol buys medical extruder Vesta

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Vesta Inc. Vesta Inc. has extrusion, injection molding and insert molding.

Lubrizol Corp. has ventured into the medical device market by acquiring Vesta Inc., a maker of catheters and tubing based on silicone and thermoplastics.

No purchase price was disclosed in an Aug. 1 news release that announced the deal. Franklin, Wis.-based Vesta had been owned by RoundTable Healthcare Partners, an investment firm in Lake Forest, Ill.

“The addition of Vesta significantly enhances our life science offerings through the combination of strong polymer technology, applications know-how and world class component manufacturing,” Lubrizol’s Deb Langer said in the release. Langer serves as LifeSciences general manager for the Wickliffe, Ohio-based firm.

Vesta now will be part of Lubrizol Advanced Materials, which includes market-leading Estane-brand thermoplastic polyurethane. Vesta operates three U.S. manufacturing sites that perform silicone molding, extrusion, sheeting, dip-casting and assembly, as well as thermoplastic tubing extrusion, assembly and secondary operations.

The 42-year-old firm has a long history of medical design engineering experience with clinical device applications in cardiology, urology, wound care and bariatrics, officials said.

Vesta was acquired by RoundTable in 2007 and grew by acquiring thermoplastic medical tubing maker ExtruMed LLC in 2009 and silicone products maker SiMatrix in 2011. It has about 450 employees.

After acquiring ExtruMed, Vesta built a new production site in Corona, Calif., to replace nearby ExtruMed plants in Placentia and Temecula. In 2011, Vesta also completed an expansion that doubled the size of its Franklin plant to 120,000 square feet.

At the 2011 Plastics News Plastics in Medical Devices conference, RoundTable senior partner David Koo said that the medical device market was attractive to large corporate buyers.

“Larger industrial companies are looking to get into the medical market because of its higher growth,” he said.

Lubrizol employs 7,500 worldwide and posted sales of $6.4 billion in 2013. The firm expanded beyond its core lubricants market in 2004 when it acquired specialty plastics maker Noveon Inc. Lubrizol has been owned since 2011 by the Berkshire Hathaway investment firm.

Plastics market analyst Robert Eller described the Vesta acquisition as a forward integration for Lubrizol.

“TPU is an important material of choice for these extruded medical products,” said Eller, president of Robert Eller Associates LLC in Akron, Ohio. “And medical is a [thermoplastic elastomer] growth market.”

By acquiring Vesta, Lubrizol “will gain control over quality and capture value-added,” he said, adding that Lubrizol will gain silicone technology through the deal while being able to offer a range of polymers to the medical segment.