A. Schulman Inc. and Citadel Plastics Inc. — two deal-happy materials firms — were at it again in the second half of 2014.
The two firms now have combined for 18 acquisitions in less than eight years. In September, Fairlawn, Ohio-based Schulman bought Compco Pty. Ltd. for $6.7 million in cash. Compco is a maker of compounds and concentrates based in Melbourne, Australia. The acquisition will allow Schulman to supply the Australian market from a domestic location, rather than from plants in Indonesia and Malaysia.
The deal was the 10th in four years for Schulman and its final one under the leadership of Joseph Gingo, who retired on Dec. 31 after leading the firm for seven years. Schulman had made relatively few deals in the decade before Gingo took the helm. But the firm changed direction in a hurry, spending more than $500 million on those 10 acquisitions.
And Schulman's buying spree might not be over. In November, Bernard Rzepka, a 23-year company veteran who now serves as CEO, told Plastics News that the firm is open to making more acquisitions, including some in markets that would be new to Schulman, such as specialty chemicals and polymer additives.
A month after the Schulman-Compco deal was announced, Citadel in October announced its purchase of the Composites Group, a thermoset compounder and molder based in Highland Heights, Ohio. Citadel, based in West Chicago, Ill., now has made eight acquisitions since its formation in 2007.
On Jan. 13, Citadel CEO Mike Huff said that his firm “is very focused on the integration of our recent acquisition” of The Composites Group and that it “will be actively pursuing targeted deals” in 2015.
“We are bullish on the 2015 market, especially in the U.S.,” Huff added.
No purchase price for the Composites Group was disclosed. Citadel is owned by private equity firm HGGC of Palo Alto, Calif.