U.S. Plastic Lumber Corp. is expanding its stake in the plastic lumber business, buying Cycle-Masters Inc. of Sweetser, Ind., for an undisclosed amount of cash and stock.
It marked the company's third deal this fiscal year and the 14th purchase since Mark Alsentzer, chairman, president and chief executive officer, assumed control in December 1996.
``Plastic lumber has a tremendous market potential,'' said Bruce Rosetto, vice president and general counsel for the company. ``We've made terrific strides over last year and now we're developing a distribution nationally [and internationally].''
Cycle-Masters Inc., formerly a primary competitor of U.S. Plastic Lumber, adds production capacity and skilled plastic lumber managers to the mix. It boosts to seven the number of plants run by U.S. Plastic Lumber. The others are in Chesapeake, Md.; Green Bay, Wis.; Trenton, Tenn.; Mulliken, Mich.; Los Angeles; and Auburn, Mass.
``Our business has been geared toward traditional building supply markets and traditional lumber markets. Their customers are on a more commercial basis,'' Rosetto said. ``It makes us a dominant player in the plastic lumber business,'' he added.
U.S. Plastic Lumber employs about 250. Its products include railroad ties, decking material and fabricated products.
The firm recently stepped up its distribution to compete with pressure-treated wood. Menard's, which operates 140 stores in the Midwest, is one of the new distribution outlets, said Rosetto.
U.S. Plastic Lumber Corp., which markets its products under the Earth Care Products name, is traded on the Nasdaq over-the-counter exchange.
The firm's annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission said the company had $24.7 million in sales for fiscal 1997. Plastic lumber did not account for any sales in fiscal 1996, but accounted for $8.13 million, or one-third, of total 1997 sales.
The company has no plans to slow its acquisition pace. It continues to search for candidates that can be vertically integrated into either of its two segments — recycled plastic lumber or environmental recycling operations.