Ferro Corp. of Cleveland has broadened its compounding portfolio by acquiring Advanced Polymer Compounding Co., a thermoplastic elastomer maker and custom compounder in Carpentersville, Ill.
APC's primary product is Alcryn, an olefinic TPE that can be processed like synthetic, melt-processible rubber. Alcryn is distributed worldwide for automotive, architectural, appliance, tool, lawn and garden and electrical applications. Officials said Alcryn offers superior weatherability and noise reduction, and faster processing times.
APC was founded by Stan Jakopin in 1987 and began producing Alcryn for DuPont shortly afterward. APC retained Alcryn production after four former DuPont employees — E. David Santoleri, W. Robert Abell III, Jeff Armour and Niles Poore — bought the Alcryn product line from DuPont in 1997.
The Alcryn line does business as Advanced Polymer Alloys, which is based in Wilmington, Del. APC also does custom and toll compounding for engineering resins, such as nylon and polycarbonate.
The company, which employs about 50, posted sales of $25 million in 1998. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.
The move represents a change for Ferro, which has cut its number of plastics facilities from 30 to 15 since 1991. The action also marks a new materials approach for Ferro, which is best known for polypropylene compounds used in rigid applications.
Plastics is the smallest of Ferro's three operating units, bringing in about 18 percent of the company's $1.36 billion sales total in 1998.
Ferro had targeted TPEs as a high priority because they offer significant growth potential and complement the company's existing plastic compounds and colorants, according to R. Jay Finch, vice president of the firm's specialty plastics segment.
The purchase also will satisfy Ferro customers that have been asking the company to provide additional products, including TPEs, said John Comanita, Ferro's worldwide business director for specialty plastics and compounds.
Comanita said APC is the beginning of a new Ferro strategy that could lead to other plastics-related acquisitions. He said the firm is looking at candidates in TPEs and other areas where the company can grow and expand.
The deal will give APC access to much higher resources, according to Abell, who is APA/Alcryn president.
``We've had plans for growth since we were in a start-up situation,'' Abell said. ``Now we can use them without going into debt.''
Abell added that he and his partners were a little surprised at receiving an offer for the business less than two years after buying it from DuPont.
``There was always the strategy of, `Where do we go from here?''' he said. ``But the timing was a little quicker than we would have thought.''
Ferro's Comanita said Alcryn production will remain in Carpentersville, but additional capacity could be added at Ferro's Evansville, Ind., plant if necessary. The company expects double-digit growth rates for Alcryn to continue in the foreseeable future.
APC management and staff also are expected to remain in place.
``TPEs are a good fit for Ferro,'' APC's Jakopin said. ``It's another charm on their bracelet.''