Carolina Color Corp.'s latest acquisition boosts its presence in the U.S. Midwest and vaults it into a $150 million per year colorants manufacturer.
Carolina Color announced July 9 that it acquired Chroma Corp. of McHenry, Ill. Terms of the deal, which closed the week of July 2, were not disclosed.
“Chroma has very established know-how,” said Carolina Color Chairman George Abd in a phone interview.
“They are strong in packaging and translucence [colorants].”
Abd said Chroma's strengths mesh well with Carolina Color. Chroma bolts onto Carolina Color's other recently acquired colorant additive producers. The combination of the businesses gives a color house boasting the Carolina Color, Chroma, Breen and Hudson brand names.
And the Salisbury, N.C.-based company isn't finished as it seeks more acquisitions, Abd said. Carolina Color President Howard DeMonte concurs.
“We will continue to acquire key businesses with the capabilities and resources in locations that complement our current portfolio with the singular goal of meeting the colorant needs of both large and small plastic converters,” DeMonte said in a news release.
Carolina Color now has two Midwest colorant production facilities. Chroma's McHenry location complements Hudson's Niles, Ill., plant. Hudson also runs a concentrate plant in Leominster, Mass. Breen's facility is in Lambertville, N.J. Carolina Color's other colorant production plants are its headquarters facility in Salisbury and in Delaware, Ohio.
Chroma brings to the table a customer list that includes some who have been clients for 40 years, Chroma President and CEO Tom Bolger told Plastics News. Chroma has provided technical color solutions for more than 50 years.
“We have a well recognized name in the Midwest and in packaging,” Bolger said in a phone interview.
“We were not considering a sale when approached, but we quickly warmed to the idea after meeting the [Carolina Color] team, hearing the vision and reviewing Carolina Color's considerable progress.”
Arsenal Capital Partners of New York acquired Carolina Colors in late 2017. Prior to that deal, Carolina Color bought Breen, which earlier had acquired Hudson.
The Carolina Color companies make a wide range of colorant and additive concentrates for thermoplastics. Breen has mainly supplied PVC markets.
Carolina Color recently broadened its offerings by introducing its G3 color pellet technology. The firm received a U.S. patent on the technology in May. Carolina Color claims the pellets give the cost performance of liquid colorants but are easier to handle. The Salisbury-based company claims G3 boosts colorant loadings by 20 to 45 percent for commodity thermoplastics. For pearlescent pigments, loadings can be as high as 50 percent. High loadings are also achieved for nylons and thermoplastic polyesters. The G3 technology builds on Carolina Color's G2 colorant and additive systems aimed at durables and high-UV exposure products.
Abd said Carolina Color will continue to honor the alliances Chroma has made in the international colorant production market. These include partnerships with Lifocolor Farben GmhH & Co. KG of Germany, Cromex of Brazil and Ngai Hing Hong Co. Ltd. of Hong Kong.
Carolina Color's buying spree goes in hand with internal growth. The company recently installed another co-rotating twin-screw extruder in its Ohio facility. That plant and the Salisbury location have relied heavily on extruders made by NFM/Welding Engineers Inc., which licenses technology from Toshiba Machine Japan.
“Without this partnership with NFM, we would not have been able to develop these technologies and grow our company as fast as we have since the launch of G2 in 2008,” noted Carolina Color Chief Operating Officer Jeff Smink in an announcement last month.
Bolger said he knows the management at sister companies under the Carolina Color umbrella. He and investor Chuck Heller owned Chroma before Carolina Color bought it. Bolger will continue with the Chroma business, continuing his 13 years with the company and 35 years in the color industry.
Abd, in addition to leading Carolina Color, has been a specialty industrials adviser for Arsenal. Abd is well known in plastics compounding and processing from his long track record in those markets.
Founded in 2000, Arsenal specializes in middle market specialty industrials and health care businesses. It has raised institutional equity investment funds of about $3 billion.