Matrixx Group is forging ahead in 2004 with deals to buy a smaller compounder in Bethlehem, Pa., and striking a joint venture deal with an Italian firm.
Earlier this month, Matrixx finalized its purchase of Total Compounding Solutions Inc. of Bethlehem. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. TCS owner Tomeh Hadeed, who founded the firm in 2001, will continue to manage the site.
Matrixx Chief Operating Officer Keith Rodden said TCS and its three single-screw extrusion lines will be relocated from its 15,000-square-foot building to a larger site either in Bethlehem or nearby Allentown, Pa.
A new twin-screw line will be added at the new site by the end of the year, officials said.
TCS had done most of its work in toll compounding of engineering resins for other compounders and resin makers. Evansville, Ind.-based Matrixx had been a customer of TCS, and Hadeed and Rodden knew each other from previous work experience with M.A. Hanna Co., which later became PolyOne Corp. Hadeed had worked at the PolyOne compounding plant in Bethlehem, which closed late last year.
``We needed another location to expand our capacity in engineered materials,'' Rodden said in a recent phone interview. ``We also needed a geographic presence on the East Coast to improve our response times and lower our shipping costs.''
Rodden added that the location was important because Matrixx currently sells about one-third of its products to East Coast customers. The TCS site will be Matrixx's sixth in the United States, joining three plants in Evansville and single plants in Houston and Nashville, Tenn.
TCS will continue to do toll compounding work, but also will begin to produce Matrixx's lineup of proprietary compounds. Matrixx also has hired three management-level employees from the defunct PolyOne site who now will work at TCS.
In Italy, Matrixx has formed a joint venture with Tessil Futura, a compounder and recycler that relocated from Milan to a larger site in Marcaria earlier this year. Tessil Futura now is operating as Matrixx Europe. The business employs 12 in a 30,000-square-foot site and operates three extrusion lines, doing a majority of its work in nylon resins.
``If you look at our customer base, there are a lot of global companies,'' Rodden said. ``If you want to be a player with those companies, your position is compromised by being just a North American supplier.''
The Marcaria plant installed a new reclaim line in June, and plans to hire 10 more employees by the end of the year.
Matrixx employs about 225 at its existing sites. The firm operates 200 million pounds of compounding capacity and 70 million pounds of recycling capacity and expects to post sales of $100 million in 2004.
Matrixx does 60-75 percent of its compounding work in polypropylene-based materials. Automotive is the firm's single-largest end market, generating about 20 percent of sales.