U.S. Plastic Lumber Corp. has been on a two-year shopping spree buying every smaller gem in sight, but this time it has purchased the crown jewel.
The Boca Raton, Fla., company has acquired privately held Eaglebrook Plastics and Eaglebrook Products Inc. for an undisclosed price, making it the world's largest manufacturer of lumber products made from recycled plastics.
``The Eaglebrook Cos. are considered the crown jewel of the emerging recycled plastic lumber industry,'' said Mark Alsentzer, U.S. Plastic Lumber president and chief executive officer.
Eaglebrook's trademark in the plastic lumber industry is Durawood, which is made of 100 percent recycled polyethylene.
The Chicago-based company's 260,000-square-foot facility will become U.S. Plastic Lumber's headquarters for its plastic lumber products division, overseeing seven plants across the country, according to a Feb. 3 news release.
One of the first orders of business is to consolidate some of the smaller plants into the larger facilities, Alsentzer said, starting with the Maryland and Michigan plants, which will be consolidated by the end of the second quarter. He is not sure if those plants will close.
``We're looking at how we can streamline and consolidate both businesses so we can add value,'' Eaglebrook President Andrew Stephens said in a Feb. 4 telephone interview.
Once that is done, U.S. Plastic Lumber plans to expand by building new plants across the country, he added.
Plastic lumber manufacturers tout its durability, resemblance to wood, strength and maintenance-free qualities.
While some companies are merely dabbling in plastic lumber, U.S. Plastic Lumber has sought to become the market leader by acquiring 15 plastic lumber manufacturers in the last two years.
And there are no plans to slow down, Alsentzer said.
The publicly held company will continue to ``aggressively seek acquisition candidates that can be vertically integrated into either its recycled plastic lumber or environmental recycling operations,'' he added.
Sales for U.S. Plastic Lumber are expected to skyrocket with the acquisition of Eaglebrook, which reported sales of $22 million in 1998, Alsentzer said.
U.S. Plastic Lumber's plastic lumber division nearly doubled its sales in 1998, to $15 million, up from $8 million in 1997.
With the addition of Eaglebrook, Alsentzer expects lumber-related sales to exceed $50 million in 1999. He also expects to reduced the cost of raw materials by 5 percent.
With continued success of current products as well as new products to be introduced this year, he projects total U.S. Plastic Lumber sales to exceed $110 million this year, heavily surpassing 1998's sales of $45 million.