Recession worries, the subprime loan mess and tightening credit have changed the climate for mergers and acquisitions vastly since financial and plastics industry experts discussed the topic at the Plastics News Executive Forum last March in San Diego.
The weak U.S. dollar also effectively means many foreign companies can buy American businesses for what amounts to a 20-25 percent discount.
A four-person panel will assess those dynamics March 10 at this year's forum in Tampa, Fla. The session will be moderated by Bill Ridenour, president of Newbury, Ohio-based Polymer Transaction Advisors Inc. Joining him will be:
* Duane Jebbett, president and chief executive officer of Findlay, Ohio, sheet extruder Rowmark LLC, which engineered a management buyout of the family-held firm.
* Greg Myers, managing director in charge of buyout funds at Milwaukee-based private equity firm Mason Wells Inc., which previously assisted with transactions involving thermoformer Creative Forming Inc. of Ripon, Wis., and Menomonee Falls, Wis.-based molder Kelch Corp. Mason Wells' portfolio currently includes North Kingsville, Ohio-based thermoset compounder and molder Premix Inc.
* Back by popular demand is Ira Boots, chairman, CEO and president of Evansville, Ind.-based Berry Plastics Corp., which in mid-December continued its acquisition spree by purchasing Mac Closures Inc. of Waterloo, Ontario, and announcing plans to spend $500 million to buy Piscataway, N.J.-based Captive Plastics Inc. When the latter deal closes, Berry - part of Apollo Management LP and Graham Partners - will employ about 14,000 at 70 plants worldwide and boast annual sales of $3.1 billion, a fivefold increase since 2003.
The M&A panel is just one session in a 2½-day, 30-speaker program at the March 9-12 Executive Forum. See the full agenda at: www.plasticsnews.com/forum2008.