Sabic Innovative Plastics LP has purchased the RheMax-brand line of compounds from RheTech Inc. for an undisclosed price.
Pittsfield, Mass.-based Sabic IP will combine RheMax with its own Stamax-brand line of long glass fiber-filled PP compounds. RheTech, based in Whitmore Lake, Mich., now will toll-produce the Stamax line for Sabic IP at a plant in Fowlerville, Mich.
Stamax and RheMax essentially are the same product, both based on technology licensed from Owens Corning of Toledo. The Stamax line primarily is used in automotive applications such as front-end modules, door modules, instrument panels, lift gates and tailgates.
We believe the American automotive industry plays a pivotal role in the design and development of automobiles on a global basis, Sabic IP automotive Vice President Greg Adams said in a recent news release. The expansion of Stamax composite production in North America and the RheMax acquisition are key aspects of Sabic IP's growth strategy.
Sabic IP and RheTech had worked together to market Stamax/RheMax since RheTech was granted a North American license for the product about four years ago, said David Bening, RheTech vice president of sales and marketing. The two companies even had bid on some programs together, he added.
RheMax was a nice niche product for us that had been growing rapidly, Bening said.
To date, Stamax has been used more widely in Europe, where the material has been able to replace steel in structural components. Sabic officials said that, on average, 5 pounds of Stamax are used on most European cars. A Sabic spokesperson said the firm may add Stamax production at one of its North American sites, in addition to the arrangement with RheTech.
RheTech employs 150 at sites in Whitmore Lake, Fowlerville and Sandusky, Ohio. The firm has annual sales of about $80 million from a product mix that includes compounds and color concentrates based on a variety of commodity and engineering resins.
Sabic IP ranks as one of the world's largest makers of engineering resins, with more than 9,500 employees and annual sales estimated at more than $6 billion.