A jury has awarded Poly-America Inc. $12 million in a civil lawsuit that alleged a Gundle/SLT Environmental Inc. business had infringed on a patent. The trial began Dec. 9 in the U.S. District Court in Dallas, and the court issued its ruling Dec. 19.
``GSE intends to appeal in due course,'' Roger J. Klatt, GSE executive vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer, said via e-mail. Initially, Houston-based GSE plans to seek a reversal in the trial court.
The suit revolved around whether Serrot International Inc. infringed on a Poly-America patent in the production and sale of Serrot's smooth-edge textured line of geomembranes for several markets.
Privately held Poly-America of Grand Prairie, Texas, filed the suit against Serrot, then a unit of Waste Management Inc., in July 2000.
GSE acquired Serrot from the waste hauler for $30 million on Feb. 4 and obtained a five-year contract to supply goods and services to Waste Management of Houston. GSE was aware of the pending litigation and said its aim in the acquisition was to achieve economies of scale in an industry undergoing significant consolidation.
By May, GSE integrated Serrot's domestic manufacturing operations in Henderson, Nev., and Wellford, S.C., and relocated them to GSE sites in Houston and Kingstree, S.C. GSE owns 51 percent of another former Serrot location in Canada. The Barrie, Ontario, site makes geosynthetic clay liners that are marketed under the identity of Bentofix Technologies Inc. In addition, GSE and Serrot installation operations in Europe have been combined.
Poly-Flex Inc. in Grand Prairie, an affiliate of diversified Poly-America, makes smooth and textured geomembrane lining systems.
GSE liners and related products, including those acquired with Serrot, contain and manage solids, liquids and gases for firms involved in waste management, mining, water, waste water and aquaculture.
Poly-America has annual sales of about $190 million. Leone Young, an analyst with Salomon Smith Barney, has forecast that GSE will have 2002 sales of $271 million.
GSE, which trades on the New York Stock Exchange, makes extensive use of polyethylene grades, with about 90 percent in high density PE and the remainder in linear low density PE.