Wall Street doesn't understand plastics. Sure, investors are familiar with some pretty-important publicly held plastics companies, like Rubbermaid Inc., First Brands Co. or M.A. Hanna Co.
But more often than not, stock analysts lump plastics companies together with chemical companies, packaging firms, automotive suppliers or some similar category. Or, worse yet, they ignore such firms altogether.
From our experience, this categorization doesn't make sense. First and foremost, plastics companies think of themselves as part of the plastics industry. They use similar technologies, they recruit from the same talent pool, and they deal with the same raw-materials pricing issues.
Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd.'s initial public stock offering provides evidence of this lack of understanding, but also some hope to alleviate the problem.
Husky is an important machinery, hot-runner, mold-making and robotics company. But outside the plastics industry, who knows Husky? To help explain to industry novices, the company's prospectus includes lots of details about the size of the North American and international plastics industry.
This kind of information is key to improving analysts' and investors' understanding of the size and scope of the plastics industry. But too often firms do not disclose this sort of data publicly.
For the past nine years, Plastics News, through efforts such as our processor and recycler rankings, has worked to reveal little-known information about the largely private companies that make up the plastics industry. We also run a monthly chart on the performance of publicly traded plastics companies, with daily updates at our Web site.
We've long felt a responsibility to raise the public profile of the plastics industry, particularly in financial circles. We applaud the effort of groups like the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. to collect and disseminate data about plastics' financial energy.
We hope Wall Street — and Toronto's Bay Street — pay attention to Husky's IPO and, consequently, to the long-neglected plastics industry.