Panolam Industries International Inc. has acquired Pioneer Plastics Corp., an Auburn, Maine, manufacturer of high-pressure decorative laminates used on furniture, flooring, counter tops, displays and cabinetry surfaces.
Panolam bought Pioneer from Rugby Group plc for $160 million in cash at closing, which is expected at the end of January, plus $15 million in post-closing contingent payments tied to performance targets through 2003.
Rugby bought Pioneer in 1995 for $71 million. Rugby Chief Executive Officer Steve Brown was unavailable for comment.
Panolam recently moved its headquarters from Montreal to Shelton, Conn. It designs, makes and distributes low-pressure laminates for residential and commercial applications, including kitchen and bath cabinets, furniture and store fixtures and displays.
``Composites and laminates are the way to go [in plastics],'' Panolam Chief Executive Officer Robert J. Muller said by telephone.
The merger ``is a good deal for our customers and for the people on both sales forces,'' enabling them to offer one-stop shopping for HPL and LPL products, Muller said.
Panolam has about 440 employees at its three plants in Huntsville, Ontario; Albany, Ore.; and Norcross, Ga. Its 1997 sales were $150 million, Muller said.
Pioneer employs 980. It has two plants: one in Auburn and one in Morristown, Tenn. It reported sales of $190 million in 1997.
Muller expects the combined sales of the two companies to top $350 million in 1998.
Once combined, the firm ``is expected to be the largest fully integrated manufacturer and marketer of decorative laminates in the U.S. and Canada,'' said Jean-Pierre Conte, chairman of Panolam and a managing director of Genstar Capital LLC, which owns 95 percent of Panolam.