The wave of acquisitions and mergers that is redefining the look of automotive suppliers can be seen elsewhere in the plastics industry. In separate deals recently, Plastiflex Co. Inc. of Anaheim, Calif., acquired the plastic hose and tubing unit of FPI Thermoplastic Technologies, while FPI's Cosmepak division purchased the comestic organizer business of Sassaby Inc. Meanwhile, San Francisco-based KCA Engineered Plastics Inc. bought its second California injection molder within the past 12 month - US Thermoplastics.
Reichhold Chemicals has purchased Italian resin maker Costernaro Mino; Teledyne Packaging acquired Envases Commerciales, a Costa Rican molder; Bayer Corp. now owns what was Monsanto's styrenics business; ABT Building Products bought KenTech Plastics; and Eagle-Picher Industries Inc. sold its Texas Orthane unit to US Farathane Corp.
The competitive struggle for survival is driving companies to make fundmental changes in the way they do business. It has altered the way they perceive themselves, and provoked considerable soul-searching. Nothing concentrates the executive mind so much as the prospect of failure or being singled out as a takeover target. That probability has increased as firms seek the protection of economies of scale. They focus on gaining efficiencies and use fiscal liposuction to shed employees. Slow economic growth does not suggest an end soon to the acquistion and merger frenzy. For the plastics industry, such reconstruction will be neither painless nor cheap.