British Vita plc is acquiring Doeflex plc, a compounder and Britain's largest plastic sheet extruder, for £65.9 million ($110 million).
Vita of Manchester, England, is on the hunt for more acquisitions, with continental Europe a prime target.
Vita also owns 40 percent of publicly held Spartech Corp., the largest North American sheet extruder, according to Plastics News' sheet and film ranking.
Doeflex, which is based in Redhill, England, operates three sheet and roll-stock plants in England: Iridon Ltd. at St. Albans; Plastech Extrusions Ltd. of Widnes and Doeflex Sheet Ltd. of Redhill. It also owns Belgian sheet extruder Horizon Industries NV of Antwerp.
The firm's compounding division includes Doeflex Vinyl Ltd. of Swindon, England; Synlon Ltd., a compounder of glass-reinforced, flame-retardant and other nylon products in Leeds, England; and the newly acquired engineering plastics business Perrite Plastic Compounds Ltd. of Risley, England.
Doeflex is consolidating its Perrite and Synlon operations at a newly leased 70,000-square-foot plant at Warrington, England.
Doeflex, which employs 500, has just reported its pretax profit rose 12 percent to $5.67 million for the first six months of 1998 on sales of $68.3 million.
Doeflex will be integrated into Vita's industrial division. According to Vita, Doeflex is one of Britain's biggest independent compounders.
Vita has spent $257 million on acquisitions this year, including an increase in its share of Clayton, Mo.-based Spartech. Spartech reported $421.4 million in sheet sales.
Commenting on the cash deal for Doeflex, Vita Chief Executive Officer Jim Mercer said: ``1998 has been an important year for the development of Vita. Looking forward, I believe Vita is well placed to capitalize on the growth opportunities presented by our enlarged portfolio of polymer technologies.''
Vita estimated that combining the Vita and Doeflex operations will save between $3.3 million and $5 million in the short- to medium-term.
Vita employs 9,700 at 150 sites in 16 countries. Its products include cellular plastic foam, plastic sheet and roll stock, and plastic and rubber compounds. Vita reported a 15 percent increase in pretax profit for the six months ended June 30. It reported profit of $65 million on sales of $704 million.