Bulk Molding Compounds Inc. has made another international move, acquiring controlling interest in thermoset compounder Tetra-DUR Kunstoff-Producktion GmbH of Seevetal, Germany.
BMCI, based in West Chicago, Ill., will control 60 percent of Tetra-DUR, with an option to buy the remainder of the company during the next five years.
Tetra-DUR formed in 1986 and now employs 38 at a 40,000 square-foot plant in Seevetal. The firm posted sales of about $12 million in 2001. The plant has annual capacity of 40 million pounds on four extrusion lines, with a fifth line set to be in place by the end of the year.
The deal marks BMCI's second move into Germany. In late 2000 it set up a manufacturing and sales partnership with Lonza Compounds GmbH & Co. KG of Miehlen, Germany, but that deal expires this month.
BMCI followed the Lonza deal with a joint venture that established manufacturing and distribution in China.
The Tetra-DUR purchase ``gives [BMCI] our own brick and mortar assets in Europe,'' BMCI business development Vice President Joe Carfora said in a recent telephone interview. ``We didn't get much commercial realization from our deal with Lonza, but now with Tetra we have an ownership interest. It's really a globalization of our company.''
Both BMCI and Tetra-DUR produce high-performance thermoset molding compounds, many of which are based on unsaturated polyester. Key markets include automotive, electrical, fuel cells and conductive plastics.
BMCI and Tetra had worked together since the late 1980s, when BMCI began producing a Tetra compound for German auto lighting maker Hella Corp.
BMCI's North American facilities are in West Chicago; Perrysburg, Ohio; and Mexico City. The firm recently installed a new mixer in Perrysburg.
BMCI employs 300 and posted sales of about $53 million in 2001. Half of BMCI's sales are into the automotive market. Recovering from a rough 2001 campaign, Carfora said improved volumes and the Tetra deal could lift 2002 sales as high as $80 million.
Looking ahead, Carfora said his firm will turn to South America, with a focus on supplying the automotive market in Brazil.
``We're continually being asked to produce the same products we produce in North America in other parts of the world,'' he said.