Acrylic sheet giant Plaskolite LLC has expanded the scope of its business by buying the North American polycarbonate sheet unit of materials maker Covestro, and it hasn't ruled out other acquisitions.
“We're looking to grow if we see other opportunities out there,” said Plaskolite President and CEO Mitchell Grindley in a March 23 phone interview.
Officials with Plaskolite in Columbus, Ohio, said the deal transforms the North American sheet industry by combining the leader in acrylic with the leader in polycarbonate.
After the deal, Plaskolite will be the only manufacturer ever to offer a complete clear sheet product portfolio, including acrylic, polycarbonate, glycol-modified PET and ABS. That selection will be a benefit to customers who will be able to turn to one source for all their sheet needs.
The marketplace has changed in the last decade, clearing the way for a company that specializes in sheet, Grindley said.
“We're a sheet manufacturer. That's what we do,” he said. “Chemical companies [like Covestro] now want to focus on other things.”
The deal is expected to close Aug. 1. The transaction includes a production plant and warehouse in Sheffield, Mass., and a warehouse in Hebron, Ohio. Adding the Covestro unit's 150 employees will give Plaskolite a work force of around 950.
The Covestro PC sheet business has annual sales of around $170 million, according to a news release from Covestro. The release did not specify a sale price, but said the amount was in “the high-double-digit million U.S. dollar range.”
Officials with Covestro — based in Leverkusen, Germany, with U.S. headquarters in Pittsburgh — said the sale was part of the firm's continued optimization of its asset base, and that its remaining regional sheet outlets “are under review to optimize the portfolio.”
Covestro CEO Patrick Thomas said that during the review process, “it became clear that our sheet business will not be a strategic fit to our polycarbonates business in the long term.”
Covestro then decided that the PC sheet unit “can develop and grow better under a new owner, and we are happy to have found a great buyer for our U.S. outlet with Plaskolite,” he added.
Plaskolite's customized sheet products are used in a variety of applications, including windows, doors, lighting, signs, point-of-purchase displays and bath products. PC sheet products made by Covestro are used in public transportation, roofing systems or signage applications.
“The customer bases [for acrylic and PC sheet] are similar,” Grindley said. “Adding polycarbonate sheet makes sense for our portfolio.”
In February, Plaskolite bought the continuous cast acrylic sheet unit of Lucite International Inc. Plaskolite previously had bought Covestro's PETG sheet unit in 2012 and now has made 15 acquisitions in the last 10-plus years.
Adding in the Covestro and Lucite deals would give Plaskolite annual sales estimated at more than $550 million, making the firm one of the 15 largest film and sheet makers in North America, according to Plastics News data.