Thermoplastic liquid-color supplier ColorMatrix Corp. of Cleveland has bought the liquid-color business of Metacol Ltd. of Hull, England, for an undisclosed price.
The deal gives ColorMatrix two sites that employ a total of 50 in Sarl, France, and Hull. The sites posted sales of $6 million to $8 million last year, according to ColorMatrix co-owner John Haugh.
Metacol's solid-color business was sold to another buyer. The deal is part of a sell-off by British investment firm Amberley Group, Metacol's publicly held owner.
``Metacol was a direct competitor, but they were in some markets we weren't involved in,'' Haugh said. ``It's a real nice marriage - like putting a hand in a glove.''
ColorMatrix already operates eight production sites in the United States, Europe, Brazil and South Africa, as well as a distribution center in Hong Kong. Haugh said the firm, which employs 300, ranks as the world's largest thermoplastic liquid-color supplier.
The deal will bring ColorMatrix's annual sales to between $75 million and $85 million.
Haugh said the company posted single-digit growth even in last year's slow economy, and expects to return to its standard double-digit growth this year.
ColorMatrix also is expanding capacity by 25 percent at one of its two Cleveland facilities through streamlining and new machinery. The $500,000 project should be completed by the end of the year.
Haugh estimates liquid color now accounts for about 25 percent of all plastic color sales. Its share was at 10 percent as recently as 1997.
``At the end of the day, the customer wants to be able to color more parts more economically, with quicker color change and lower overall costs and inventory,'' he said. ``That's what our product lets them do.''