M.A. Hanna Co. has acquired Exxon Chemical's halogen-free, flame-retardant compounds business, which primarily serves the wire and cable industry.
The March 1 acquisition provides Cleveland-based Hanna with Exxon's flame-retardant polyolefin compound technology, as well as the firm's customer lists and existing inventory for those products.
The acquisition does not include any property or manufacturing facilities. A European compounder will continue to manufacture the compounds for Hanna as it did for Houston-based Exxon. The compounds are relatively new to the North American market and have enjoyed more commercial success in Europe, according to the firms.
Hanna will market the materials through Enviro Care Compounds, a Norwegian compounder it acquired last year. New safety regulations in several European countries have sparked demand for halogen-free plastics in public buildings, Hanna officials said.
The flame-retardant materials complement ECC's product mix, according to Hanna spokeswoman Theresa Kuharich. The two lines also match well geographically — Exxon had targeted France, the United Kingdom and Belgium, while ECC had focused on the Scandinavian countries, Spain and the United Kingdom.
The compounds, which racked up $5 million in sales in 1997, are used in wire and cable coatings and insulation, which is a rapidly growing segment of the wire and cable industry, according to Garth Henry, Hanna's senior vice president of international operations.
Kuharich added that market growth may allow Hanna to incorporate the compounds into its manufacturing lineup.
Exxon is exiting the business to devote more resources to its core activities in the wire and cable industry, Exxon electrical segment manager Philippe G. Hardy said in a news release.
Hanna, which manufactures compounds and color concentrates and distributes resin, posted sales of $2.2 billion in 1997.