The company with a name still synonymous with the world's first fully synthetic plastic will soon have a new owner: Borden Chemical Inc.
Columbus, Ohio-based Borden has won the bidding battle to buy Bakelite AG, an Iserlohn-Letmathe, Germany-based company that makes epoxy and phenolic thermoset resins, adhesives and molding compounds.
Bakelite, which dates back to 1910, currently is owned by Rutgers AG of Essen, Germany. Bakelite employs 1,752 and has 13 plants in Europe, Asia and the United States, including one in Sheboygan, Wis. The company posted sales last year of $610 million.
Borden, which is owned by New York investment firm Apollo Management LP, itself is a leading producer of thermoset binding and bonding resins. The deal gives the company new opportunities in Europe and Asia.
``We regard Bakelite as a strategic investment that will greatly expand our international operations ... while expanding our range of technology solutions into epoxy resins and other materials,'' said Borden President and Chief Executive Officer Craig Morrison.
Rutgers, which is part of a coal and chemical conglomerate, has been disposing of its plastics businesses, which it considers noncore. The Borden takeover offers Bakelite's workers ``a promising future'' with a package that protects the interests of the company's employees, according to Rutgers personnel director Helmut Hamer.
Terms were not disclosed. The deal is subject to approval by European competition authorities.
Almost a century ago, Rutgers joined with Leo Hendrick Baekeland, the father of synthetic plastic and inventor of the principle of thermoset plastics production, to found Bakelite GmbH.
Last year Borden, which employs 2,400, reported annual sales worth $1.4 billion.