Myers Industries Inc. plans to consolidate in order to better position itself in the lawn and garden markets, a move industry watchers characterize as an attempt to help its overall business rather than a move to make it more attractive to a potential buyer.
The Akron, Ohio-based company did not give details in an Aug. 18 news release, but said the changes will be phased in during the next 12 months to avoid disruptions during customers' peak season.
In April, New York-based GS Capital Partners withdrew its $1.1 billion offer for Myers, a deal announced in April 2007. Industry watchers cited Wall Street's ongoing credit crunch as the prime reason the deal collapsed.
``Given their unfortunate experience with GS, I suspect management's [current] intention is to put up some eye-opening numbers in their lawn and garden brand as soon as possible,'' analyst David Leibowitz of Seattle-based Horizon Asset Management LLC said in an Aug. 18 telephone interview. ``I do not believe it is intended to pretty things up [for a buyer], but to build up business and transform Myers into a more focused company.''
Myers has plastics operations in three out of four of its operating segments. Its North American materials-handling unit offers injection molding, structural foam molding, thermoforming and blow molding. In its automotive and custom division, its technologies include coextrusion blow molding with three-dimensional capabilities and rubber-to-plastic bonding. Myers' lawn and garden segment has in-mold labeling and the ability to do lightweight, coextruded, thermoformed pots. Its fourth division provides wholesale distribution for tools, equipment and supplies for the tire, wheel and under-vehicle service industry.
Lawn and garden division sales overall were $300.9 million in 2007, up from $160.2 million in 2006. But the segment has lagged in 2008 with sales by June 30 of $62.9 million, a 13 percent decrease over the same period in 2007.