MANCHESTER, ENGLAND — British Vita plc has a war chest of 170 million ($270 million) for acquisitions in Europe and the United States in its foam, sheet and nonwovens businesses. "We've had four or five years of moving the profit margin forward. Today, we're in pretty good shape and consolidating with good profits. Organic as well as acquisition growth in specialist areas is where we need to go now," managing director David Campbell said by telephone.
Campbell said there are growth prospects in each of Manchester-based Vita's three divisions: cellular polymers, industrial polymers and the renamed nonwovens unit.
Vita's cellular unit seeks technical foams acquisitions, as opposed to its traditional bedding application side. Also, it wants to add capacity, particularly in the United States, where it has a small share in the filtration and ink jet printer business, Campbell said.
Vita plans to spend about $1 million this year upgrading production equipment at Crest Foam Industries Inc. in Moonachie, N.J.
In industrial polymers, Vita will concentrate on developing thin-gauge polypropylene sheet for printing in applications, such as stationery and graphic arts. To meet the demand it is investing about 2 million ($3 million) to add extrusion lines at the Doeflex Sheet Ltd. plant in Redhill, England, and at the Axipack SA plant in Ruitz, France, Campbell said.
For compounding and sheet, he said: "The radar is always switched on and we're looking for good opportunities, mostly in Europe since we have the strong link with Spartech in the United States."
Vita holds a 44 percent stake in Spartech Corp., a sheet rollstock extruder, compounder and injection molder in Clayton, Mo.