CHICAGO — Steady growth continues at Performance Polymers Inc., as the Leominster, Mass.-based resin distributor has added six new suppliers and formed a minority-business partnership in its ninth year of operations.
The independent firm, which expects to approach the $190 million mark in sales this year, also said it will announce the opening of a regional office in Charlotte, N.C., or Atlanta by the end of the year.
The company's senior vice presidents outlined some reasons for this growth — as well as the potential of the minority partnership — in an interview at NPE 1997, held June 16-20 in Chicago.
Senior Vice President Eugene Rall said the company stepped into a niche created when major resin manufacturers started moving away from serving smaller customers.
``I don't think the major manufacturers are geared to sell to smaller consumers of thermoplastics,'' Rall said. ``They won't even package resin in bags and boxes.''
Performance Polymers, however, sells 50-pound bags, said James Duffy, senior vice president.
This approach has added firms to the company's lineup: Ampacet of Tarrytown, N.Y.; Custom Resins of Henderson, Ky.; Nova Chemicals of Calgary, Alberta; Huntsman Chemical Co. of Salt Lake City; and Washington Penn of Washington, Pa.
Performance, with six regional and branch offices nationwide, also has reached an agency agreement with Dow Plastics of Midland, Mich., to offer the company's Calibre-brand polycarbonate resins.
In addition, Performance recently started a full-time technical service to help customers find new applications and perform lab testing on various resins. Rall said technical service is another area large resin makers are moving away from.
Rall added that company officials have discussed going public, but no decision has been reached.
``Any time a company grows at the rate we have, you have to look at that sort of thing,'' Rall said.
The minority partnership, called Poly Kell, links Performance with Kel Chem Technologies, a Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based minority distributor with a strong focus on the automotive market.
Kel Chem owner Reginald Kelley, who held sales and marketing positions with BFGoodrich Co. and Occidental Chemical Corp. before going solo in 1994, said the partnership expands his company's ability to offer a broad product mix to its customers.
Through the partnership, Kel Chem and Performance can capitalize on the 5 percent of business the Big Three automakers have committed to minority businesses. Kelley said that commitment adds up to $1 billion from Chrysler, $1.9 billion from Ford and $2 billion from GM each year.
``This partnership will allow us to compete in that arena,'' Kelley said. ``Standing alone, we had no supply base and couldn't do it.''
Arthur Millette, Performance senior vice president, negotiated the deal with Kelley.
``This is a good partnership for us because it helps us get our products someplace where we hadn't been before,'' Millette said.
``You just don't walk into the automotive marketplace.''