Ferro Corp. has sold its North American polymer additives business to a private equity firm for $154 million in cash.
The sale to HIG Capital LLC of New York includes plants in Cleveland and Walton Hills, Ohio; Bridgeport, N.J.; and Fort Worth, Texas. Those plants make plasticizers based on benzyl phthalate, benzoate ester and polyadipate ester.
HIG will rebrand the business and operate it as Valerus Specialty Chemicals, based in Independence, Ohio. Valerus will make polymer modifiers, lubricants and stabilizers at six plants, in Ohio, New Jersey, Louisiana, Texas and the United Kingdom. The company expects to generate more than $200 million in sales in 2014.
Valerus will be headed by CEO Paul Angus, who joins the company from Ferro.
Mayfield Heights, Ohio-based Ferro will continue to seek a buyer for its European polymer additives business, which mainly consists of a plant in Antwerp, Belgium. When that plant is sold, Ferro will have exited almost all of its plastics-related markets. The firm in June sold its specialty plastics business — including compounding and concentrate production — to A. Schulman Inc. for $91 million.
Ferro's polymer additives unit posted sales of $292.5 million in 2013, down almost 9 percent vs. 2012. The unit's gross profit fell more than 9 percent to $27.1 million in the same comparison. Separate sales numbers for 2014 were unavailable.
In a Dec. 19 news release, Ferro President and CEO Peter Thomas said that the sale to HIG “marks a further step in our plan to harvest the value of assets that are no longer core to our growth strategy.”