Dow Chemical Co. has taken another giant step in its plan to expand and strengthen its global polyurethanes business. The company will purchase General Latex and Chemical Corp., a large North American polyurethane systems supplier and a leading maker of custom compounds from natural and synthetic latex, a spokesman said. The firm also is a leader in rigid polyurethane foam formulations, he said.
The acquisition is Dow's second in the past three months. In January, it acquired polyurethane systems supplier Flexible Products Co., which gave Dow Chemical its first in-house systems capability in North America.
The companies will be part of Dow Polyurethanes, a business group of Dow Chemical.
"The acquisitions are complementary to each other, as they have very few overlapping customers and market applications," said Tom Shears, Dow's financial director of polyurethanes.
Terms of the pact were not disclosed. General Latex Chemical has annual sales of more than $100 million, and Dow expects the deal to close during the second quarter, pending regulatory approval.
Cambridge, Mass.-based General Latex operates six manufacturing sites in North America, in Ashland, Ohio; Billerica, Mass.; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Dalton, Ga.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Brampton, Ontario.
The company's custom compounds are used in a variety of industries, including automotive, adhesives, medical, fabric, paper and carpet, according to Thayne Hensen, Dow Chemical's commercial director for its Emulsion Polymers unit in North America.
Dow Chemical has a large in-house global polyurethane systems business, but in North America it previously conducted business through independent systems houses. Dow set up its North American polyurethane product and systems base when it bought Flexible Products.
Marietta, Ga.-based Flexible Products employs about 300 and has four manufacturing units, in Joliet, Ill.; Austin, Texas; Milton, Ontario; and Marietta. It also has a sales office in England.
Midland, Mich.-based Dow claims to be the world's largest producer of polyols and a major producer of propylene oxide, methylene diphenyl diisocyanate and toluene diisocyanate.