Maax Inc. will become the third-largest U.S. producer of fiberglass and acrylic bathware by acquiring Aker Plastics Inc. of Plymouth, Ind.
Maax said July 18 that it agreed in principle to buy Aker, a private firm with annual sales exceeding $75 million, for undisclosed terms. Maax expects to finalize the deal on Oct. 25 after due diligence and various approvals, said Maax President and Chief Executive Officer Andre Heroux.
Maax will take over Aker's spot as the third-biggest U.S. fiberglass/acrylic bathware producer after American Standard Co. and Kohler Co., Heroux said in a telephone interview from Maax's head office in Sainte Marie de Beauce, Quebec. The deal will strengthen Maax's presence in the U.S. Midwest and Northeast. Aker has two production plants in Plymouth and one In Martinsburg, W.Va.
A key attraction is Aker's distribution network of plumbing wholesalers that sell to trade professionals, Heroux said. Maax's U.S. distribution is concentrated in home improvement centers. U.S. sales already represent nearly 70 percent of Maax's turnover and new distribution channels will boost that fraction. Heroux said Maax now claims 5-8 percent of the U.S. bathware market, depending on category. Its total sales, including Canada and Europe, for the year ended Feb. 28 were C$518.5 million (US$337 million).
Aker will provide purchasing synergies for acrylic sheet and other materials it and Maax buy to make shower surrounds, bathtubs and other plastic bathware, Heroux said. It also boosts economies of scale for research and mold development. The two companies' product lines are similar, but Maax does more work with acrylic than Aker.
Heroux said he currently has no plan to consolidate any Aker or Maax plants. Aker employs about 800.
Don Aker established the Indiana firm in 1967; his sons Gary and Mark now head the business. Maax said that it plans to retain key Aker executives to help run the purchased business.
Heroux said the Aker deal, Maax's largest to date, follows a two-year acquisition-free period during which Maax was digesting the dozen takeovers it had made over the previous decade.