Hexpol Compounding has its sights set on expanding from rubber into plastics by making deals in the world of compounding.
“We want to add production and we're looking to make acquisitions,” Hugo Sandberg, a Hexpol executive, said in a recent interview. “We could add [plastics] manufacturing capacity [at our own plants], but we'll look first to see if there's existing manufacturing to combine with.”
Burton, Ohio-based Hexpol — a unit of Hexpol Group of Malm", Sweden — would like to acquire a thermoplastic elastomer compounder, but also is interested in forms that compound engineering resins, said Sandberg, who serves as the firm's senior manager for marketing and business development.
Hexpol's parent firm has made its own TPEs — based on styrenic block copolymers and thermoplastic vulcanizates and sold under the Dryflex and Mediprene brand names — since it acquired the Elasto-brand business from London-based British Vita plc in early 2010. Hexpol currently imports those materials from Europe for a small group of customers in the U.S.
Mediprene-brand TPEs were the first such product aimed at medical uses in the European market, Sandberg said.
Hexpol made a major move in the rubber compounding sectors in November when it bought Excel Polymers, the former rubber compounding business of Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne Corp. that had been spun off to management and private investors in 2004. Hexpol paid $212 million for Excel, which has annual sales of about $350 million and ranks as North America's largest rubber compounder.
The deal pushes Hexpol Group's total sales to more than $1 billion and makes the firm the largest rubber compounder in the world. But rubber apparently isn't enough for the firm's ambitions.
“We're on the prowl,” Sandberg said. “We like what we see in the TPE business, but we're not restricted to TPE. We're interested in other specialties and engineering resins as well.”
Hexpol already is in “active talks” with some potential acquisition targets,” he added.