Orlando, Fla. — A. Schulman Inc. is moving ahead with new products even as the firm is in the process of being acquired by LyondellBasell Industries.
In February, Houston-based LBI announced its plans to purchase Schulman of Fairlawn, Ohio, for $2.25 billion. LBI is a leading global petrochemicals firm. Schulman is a leading compounder and concentrates maker in North America and Europe and one of Europe's main resin distributors as well.
LBI plans to combine Schulman with its own sizable polypropylene compounding unit. Schulman shareholders will vote on the offer June 14.
"The deal makes a lot of sense when you look at the markets in which we operate," Schulman executive Frank Roederer said in a May 7 interview at NPE2018 in Orlando. "Everything from mobility to electrical and electronic to food packaging to sports and leisure. It's going to create a world-leading compounding company."
Roederer serves as senior vice president and general manager of the U.S. and Canada and of Schulman's engineered composites business.
On the new product front, at NPE 2018 Schulman focused on several new innovations, including some aimed at the food packaging and automotive markets.
The food packaging innovation is Polybatch-brand EasyPour additive masterbatch concentrates. The materials help customers squeeze more value out of their products with packaging that allows them to obtain every last drop, officials said.
EasyPour materials optimize polymer surface properties to enable contents to flow more smoothly in pouches and similar containers. The new technology is designed for use in both flexible and rigid multilayer constructions, officials added.
On the automotive side, Eco-Flex-brand recycled thermoplastic vulcanizate combines the performance characteristics of rubber — such as flexibility and antiskid — with the processing ease of conventional thermoplastics, officials said. The materials deliver cost savings of 30-50 percent as well as the value-added benefit that TPVs offer over thermoset rubber in recyclability, they added.
Schulman also remains committed to sustainability, according to Roederer.
"If we just keep making plastic and dumping it, the world isn't going to be sustainable," he said. "We need more recycling, but unless consumers make the decision to start recycling, things won't change."
Schulman posted sales of almost $2.5 billion in its 2017 fiscal year. The firm employs more than 5,000 at 54 global locations.