PolyOne Corp. has sold its engineered films business to managers and a Virginia-based private equity firm.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne will retain a minority stake in the unit, which had sales of $126 million last year.
The films business, based in Winchester, Va., operates plants there and in Lebanon, Pa., employing a total of 560. Most of the unit's film products are based on PVC, but it also uses polyolefins, polyurethane and thermoplastic olefins. Half of the unit's sales are into the automotive market.
A group of eight to 10 managers are making the investment, along with Matrix Capital Markets of Richmond, Va. Details of the ownership split were unavailable.
One of the management investors is Dennis Bezile, a 16-year veteran of PolyOne and its Geon Co. predecessor. Bezile has led the films business since 2003.
``This ensures continuity for our people and our customers as well. It's the right fit for everybody,'' Bezile said by phone Sept. 27.
He added that the unit's sales grew in 2004 and are on track to grow again in 2005, but did not offer specifics.
The sale ends a planned move into downstream products that Geon had initiated before merging with M.A. Hanna Co. in 2000 to form PolyOne, North America's largest compounder.
Geon bought publicly held O'Sullivan Corp. for $191 million in 1999. Geon had entered the films market earlier that year when it acquired the films business of Occidental Chemical Co. as part of the deal which created PVC maker Oxy Vinyls LP.
But contraction in the automotive market, along with less emphasis on end products after the Hanna deal, took its toll. Between 2000 and 2003, PolyOne closed film plants in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Nevada.
``The intent was to have a bigger stake in the film market, but that strategy changed when the Hanna opportunity came into being,'' said Dennis Cocco, PolyOne vice president of investor relations.
PolyOne put its films unit up for sale in 2003, along with specialty resins, which has not been sold.