Philadelphia-based private equity firm Graham Partners Inc. continues to expand its plastics portfolio with the purchase of engineered laminate and sheet maker Schneller Inc. in Kent, Ohio.
Schneller makes decorative laminate and nontextile flooring for the aviation and rail transportation markets.
The specialized nature of the business was part of the allure for Graham.
``It's a highly regulated sector. There are fairly strict ratings in terms of smoke and flame resistance,'' said Graham principal Christina Morin, in a July 2 telephone interview. ``There are very high barriers to entry. Schneller is a leader in those spaces. There are not many providers that can meet those requirements.''
There will be opportunities to grow the business in other end markets, Morin said.
``They've done a really good job meeting the very stringent regulatory requirements, but developing at the same time a very attractive aesthetic product that transportation companies find appealing,'' she said. ``Graham's contacts and relationships in the building products sector should benefit Schneller in further expanding its growing architectural product offering.
``By pursuing new market opportunities, there should be incremental growth on top of what they might already achieve.''
Graham will provide Schneller with capital for growth.
``We also want to provide more than just capital, but resources, operating expertise and industry contacts,'' Morin said.
Graham officials would not disclose Schneller's annual sales, but in an October 2005 interview with Smart Business magazine in Akron, Chief Executive Officer Rick Organ said the company's sales were $60 million.
Graham has more than $850 million under management, focusing on industrial companies with sales between $20 million and $350 million that participate in manufacturing niches.
The purchase price was not disclosed.