SAO PAULO, BRAZIL — New York-based private equity firm Rhone Capital LLC bought all of Rhone-Poulenc Group's polyester film operations in the Americas March 4.
The units include a 13.2 million-pound-per-year facility in Bloomfield, N.Y., and a 33 million-pound-per-year unit in Cabo de Santo Agostinho, near Recife, Brazil.
The Brazilian plant was sold for about $48.5 million, while the U.S. facility price was not disclosed.
Rhone Capital is not affiliated with Rhone-Poulenc. Rhone Capital manages $350 million from investors such as Union Bancaire Privee, the largest privately owned Swiss bank, Soros Fund Management, and select private and institutional investors.
This deal establishes Rhone Capital's debut in the plastics business, said company spokeswoman Nancy C. Cooper.
The newly formed firm will be called Terphane, the trademark that Rhone-Poulenc has used for its polyester packaging films.
``Both plants have always operated independently and we think there is a lot of synergy in having them working together,'' Cooper said. Together, the two plants reported 1997 sales of $76.5 million.
In Brazil, the acquired unit belonged to Rhodia-Ster SA of Sao Paulo. Rhodia-Ster produces terephthalic acid, PET resin and polyester fibers. Rhodia-Ster's polyester film unit had reported $49.5 million in sales last year and is the only polyester film plant in South America, said Valter Faria, investor relations manager.
``The sale concluded a cycle of divesting all businesses that were secondary to Rhodia-Ster,'' he said. During the past year, Rhodia-Ster sold its nonwoven polyester, PET packaging and acrylic fiber business units.
Faria said the Cabo facility exports almost half of its production, of which 85-90 percent is shipped to the United States and distributed by Bloomfield-based Rhone-Poulenc Inc. In Brazil, the unit serves mainly the packaging market.