M.A. Hanna Co. continued to wheel and deal May 11 when it agreed to sell its Cadillac Plastic shapes distribution business to GE Plastics of Pittsfield, Mass. Troy, Mich.-based Cadillac is one of the world's largest distributors of plastic sheet, rod, tubing and film. It posted sales of $378 million last year — bringing in about 16 percent of Hanna's total revenue — and employs 1,100 at 111 locations worldwide, including 42 in the United States.
Officials declined to release the purchase price of the sale.
Cadillac will operate as a separate unit within GE Plastics, according to GE spokesman Bob Hess. GE Plastics is one of the world's largest engineering resins makers and is a major producer of polycarbonate sheet.
"We're looking at Cadillac as fundamentally a service business," Hess said. "[Buying Cadillac] is a logical move to grow our business and to grow the industry."
Cadillac, which Hanna bought in 1987, has a long history with GE Plastics dating back to the 1960s, when Cadillac first distributed plastic sheet made from GE's Lexan-brand polycarbonate.
GE Plastics will continue to work with its other sheet distributors after the Cadillac acquisition, Hess said.
The deal includes all Cadillac assets with the exceptions of its Richmond Aircraft unit in Norwalk, Calif., and joint ventures in Germany, France and Spain.
Some Cadillac locations also do fabricating work, customizing sheet and other products for end users. Markets include signs and displays, glazing and aerospace.
Since 1997, Hanna has closed roughly 30 Cadillac branches in the United States as part of a centralization plan.
The sale was announced three days after Hanna went public with plans to merge with PVC compounder Geon Co. of Avon Lake, Ohio, in a deal that would create a polymers firm with $3.5 billion in annual sales.
The Cadillac sale was "totally independent" of the Geon deal, although the events nearly coincided, said Chris Farage, Hanna's investor relations director
Cadillac was founded in 1945 by brothers Dick and Robert Jacob. It originally purchased surplus acrylic and used it to make such products as legs for stocking displays and rear windows for convertible cars.
Cadillac was one of three business units that industry insiders believed might be sold off in the wake of the Geon/Hanna merger. The other units mentioned were Hanna's $450 million resin distribution business and Geon's 20 percent stake in PVC maker Oxy Vinyls LP.
Hanna's Farage said the resin distribution unit will not be affected by the Cadillac sale.