George Votis, owner of Moll Industries LP, plans to acquire another plastics firm.
Custom injection and blow molder Anchor Advanced Products Inc. said a company affiliated with Votis agreed in principle to buy Anchor Holdings Inc., parent of the Knoxville, Tenn., firm, for undisclosed terms.
Phyllis Best, Anchor Advanced senior vice president of finance, said she expects the deal to be completed within 30 days of Anchor's Feb. 17 announcement. Votis declined to talk about the deal until after it is final.
A spokesman for Thomas H. Lee Co., a Boston investment firm with majority ownership of Anchor Holdings, would not comment on the proposed sale.
Best said Votis' interest in Anchor Advanced was ``no surprise.'' She described her company as an attractive business investment and said its sale would provide financial gain to Thomas H. Lee Co. The latter firm's best-known deal was its 1992 purchase of fruit drink firm Snapple for $130 million, which it sold to Quaker Oats Co. in 1994 for $1.7 billion.
Anchor Advanced had record sales last year of $161.2 million, although it recorded a loss of $372,000 after a one-time charge related to a bond issue.
Anchor Advanced is a major toothbrush molder and is growing rapidly in cosmetic packaging, Best said in a telephone interview. It recently entered the market for molded point-of-purchase display items.
The company has two plants in Morristown, Tenn., one of which focuses on dental molding and the other on POP products. Its Waterbury, Conn., facility mainly does metal stamping while its Matamoros, Mexico, facility is big in cosmetics packaging.
Its Mid-State Plastics Inc. custom molding subsidiary has four plants in Seagrove, N.C., and one in Round Rock, Texas, near Austin. Compaq Computer is a major Mid-States customer. Anchor Advanced listed 210 presses at its facilities in last year's Plastics News survey of North American injection molders.
Votis' Moll Industries last month bought French custom molder and mold builder Somomeca Industries to boost European sales to more than half its annual total of more than $250 million. The Anchor Advanced deal would diversify Moll's customer based, now weighted to appliances, telecommunications, electronics, automotive and institutional products.
Although Anchor Advanced is privately held, it made its Feb. 17 announcement because last year it issued to institutional and other investors $100 million in 11.75 percent senior notes due in 2004. Anchor Advanced is soliciting consent from the bondholders for the Votis deal.
Thomas H. Lee Co. recently said in an interview with Reuters news service that it plans to start a $3.45 billion fund to participate in the mergers and acquisitions market. A company official said it was bidding on several prospective companies but he did not identify any.
Managing director Thomas Hagerty said potential targets are in financial services and retail and consumer products. It last raised a $1.4 billion fund in 1995, part of which it recently used to buy Fisher Scientific International Inc.
Thomas H. Lee has more than 20 investments, none other than Anchor Holdings directly related to plastics processing, according to a company spokesman.