Azdel Inc. has a new South Korean-based owner that can help it grow global sales of its thermoplastic composites, while using the company to expand into North America.
Hanwha Living & Creative Corp. purchased Azdel for an undisclosed sum from Sabic Innovative Plastics of Pittsfield, Mass., and PPG Industries Inc. of Pittsburgh, in a deal announced Nov. 20.
Azdel will retain its name and Lynchburg, Va., headquarters. Azdel President Melanie Cook will remain with the firm, along with all senior staff, Cook said in a recent telephone interview. Hanwha Living & Creative is part of the larger Hanwha Group, based in Seoul.
``A big part of [Hanwha's] thinking going forward is for growth internationally,'' Cook said. ``We have great presence in North America, and they're a presence in Asia.''
Azdel employs 185 worldwide and has manufacturing sites in Lynchburg and Shelby, N.C. In 1986, the company opened as a 50-50 joint venture between GE Plastics, now Sabic IP, and PPG. The companies would not release Azdel's sales.
For Hanwha, the acquisition includes long-term strategic supply arrangements with Sabic for resins and with PPG for glass-fiber-reinforcing materials.
Hanwha, a conglomerate with 21,400 employees, posted $21.9 billion in 2006 sales. Its holdings include an explosives company, financial and insurance operations, engineering services and a professional baseball team.
Its Hanwha Living & Creative unit operates PVC production for flooring and other housing products as well as glass-mat and other reinforced thermoplastics, which correspond with Azdel's production of light-weight thermoformable glass-mat composite sheet used in automotive and appliance industries. The firm uses resins that include high-performance Ultem polyetherimide and polypropylene.
The transaction will give each firm access to the other's plants, territories and markets.
Hee-Cheul Kim, vice president of Hanwha's automotive and industrial materials division, will join Azdel as chief executive officer, but no other management changes are planned, according to Cook.