CLAYTON, MO. - Spartech Corp. spent the first half of 1995 digesting two acquisitions it made in 1994, and is eyeing new growth opportunities. Bradley Buechler, president and chief executive officer, said Spartech has an organization in place that could see it doubling or tripling sales without over-exerting itself.
The Clayton company last year acquired two sheet production facilities from Product Components Inc. and the extrusion and color compounding divisions of Pawnee Industries Inc.
Those acquisitions boosted Spartech's sales by $85 million, and secured its position as the leading supplier of sheet products in North America, with more than 20 percent of the $900 million market.
Now, Spartech has converted its preferred stock to common stock and, as of Aug. 15, restructured its finances through a private debt issue and a new line of credit. Spartech used a $50 million private placement of debt to pay down existing debt and reduce its interest rate on its unpaid, current debt.
Separately, Spartech arranged an unsecured, $40 million credit arrangement with the Bank of America.
Buechler described the financial arrangements as housekeep-ing steps toward making a secondary public offering of stock in 1996 more attractive.
Buechler also said he expects to use the credit line with the Bank of America for domestic or international expansions.
Spartech recently named a manager for international marketing and distribution - Don Hudson - because of pressures from customers for the company to become more of an international supplier, according to Buechler.
The company may acquire or start a sheet facility in eastern Canada, and also is considering ventures in Mexico and South America, Buechler said. In the future, Spartech may consider expanding to the Far East, he added.
The firm also may acquire or build a color compounding facility in the southwestern United States, he said.
Aggressive acquisitions and good growth of its core businesses have helped Spartech increase sales by 35 percent for each of the past two years.
While Buechler acknowledges it is unlikely that his company will continue that trend, he says maintaining a fast rate of growth is not his goal.
``We are looking at improving the bottom number, not the top number,'' he said, noting that he wants to improve Spartech's return on investment and equity rather than sales.
Buechler said his aggressive acquisition plans could include expansions into other product areas, but he noted that however the company's plans develop, he intends to sidestep the film business, an area in which Spartech was badly burned several years ago.