Convergence Packaging Holdings LLC, itself a product of mergers, now is joining together with Comar LLC.
The union of the two plastics packaging firms is not completely surprising, however, as both are owned by private investment firm Graham Partners Inc.
In a move unveiled this week and effective immediately, Comar CEO Michael Ruggieri was tapped to lead the combined operations that will retain the Comar name.
Joining the two companies, Ruggieri said during an Oct. 24 interview, creates a stronger organization in terms of manufacturing and personnel that will allow for more growth.
The merger provides “just a really exciting opportunity to play in a bigger sandbox, to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there and build a bigger and stronger company,” he said.
Ross Bushnell, CEO of Convergence Packaging, becomes president and chief commercial officer of the larger firm.
“I don't think that this is a business or a market that standing idle works for you very effectively. I think you need to continue to be a growth story. And we are absolutely, 100-percent committed to being a growth story,” Bushnell said in the interview.
Comar serves the pharmaceutical, diagnostic, health and personal care markets from manufacturing locations in Buena, N.J., and Cayey, Puerto Rico.
Convergence Packaging was created through the acquisition of three companies — Scandia Plastics LLC, Paradigm Packaging Inc., and Precision Medical Inc. It has operations in Rancho Cucamonga and Upland, Calif.; Saddle Brook, N.J. and Hoschton, Ga. Convergence serves the health and nutrition, medical diagnostics, food packaging, household and light industrial markets.
“We've got the platform in place now,” Bushnell said. “We've got a broader sales organization that can reach more people. We can grow significantly on an organic basis, not just on an acquisitive basis. But I think it's also exciting for everybody within the company to know that we're going to continue to look at growth in both arenas.”
Expanding into Europe is of particular interest to the company, but that certainly takes time and effort. “The wider, deeper management team will allow us to do more than one thing at a time,” Ruggieri said.
“The market in North America has gotten a little thin,” he said, for the types of companies Comar seeks.
While combining two Graham Partners companies is not surprising, the move also was not a foregone conclusion, the men said.
“I think Graham's philosophy, our philosophy as a management team, is to do what makes sense and creates the most value for our customers,” Ruggieri said. “It's something that we took a lot of time to think about and evaluate and really understand whether or not it makes sense and whether or not one plus one was going to equal greater than two for our customers in our market.
“It was something that we wanted to make sure really made sense before we took a step. And we really felt it makes sense,” he said.
“We have very complementary skills sets and management teams. As we put these two companies together, we now have a much deeper, much wider management team and employee base,” Ruggieri said. “I think that helps better us to grow the business.”
Both Bushnell and Ruggieri served on each other's boards leading up to the decision to merge.
“It wasn't an accidental marriage,” Bushnell said. “We both had the opportunity to look at and gain insight from each other's business.”
Comar, now larger, will remain based in Buena.