Updated Sept. 9
Techmer PM LLC, one of North America’s largest compounders and concentrate makers, has a new majority owner for the second time in less than three years.
Private equity firm Gryphon Investors of San Francisco has bought a majority stake in Clinton, Tenn.-based Techmer for an undisclosed price, officials said in a Sept. 7 news release.
Techmer management — including founder John Manuck — and investment firm SK Capital will retain minority stakes in the firm.
In a Sept. 8 phone interview, Manuck said that Gryphon initiated the deal with Techmer and that Gryphon was “committed to make this happen.”
“This will give us more capital and more expertise and allow us to continue building the strategic plans we’ve been working on for the last two years,” he added.
Manuck — who began his plastics career in 1969 at a resin plant operated by Monsanto Inc. in Massachusetts — said he will continue to have a “more strategic role” with Techmer. “I’ll be working on long-term projects,” he added. “I’m better at big-picture stuff at this point in my career.”
In a news release, SK Capital managing director Mario Toukan said that since his firm’s initial investment in 2020, SK Capital “has been proud to partner with John Manuck, Mike McHenry, and the entire Techmer team.”
“We have leveraged SK’s resources to help strengthen Techmer and been fortunate to work with an ownership and management group that shares our core values,” he added. “The success of Techmer serves as a prime example of the value proposition of SK’s lower middle market strategy and represents a milestone for the firm.”
New York-based SK bought a majority stake in Techmer from Manuck and business partners Rehrig Pacific and Tokyo Ink in July 2020. Manuck founded Techmer in 1981. The firm makes engineered compounds and color and additive concentrates for plastics and fibers.
CEO Mike McHenry will continue to lead Techmer.
“The Techmer team has significantly improved the overall business performance in a very challenging market environment,” McHenry said in the release. “We are excited by the additional support, expertise and resources that will come from Gryphon’s investment.”
“We have a number of commercial strategies to expand our offering and deliver first-class service … and we believe that Gryphon, alongside SK Capital, gives us additional operational and capital resources to help Techmer maximize its potential,” he added.
Gryphon’s other major plastics holding is Pacur LLC, an Oshkosh, Wis.-based sheet extruder that it acquired in February 2020.
“With our investment in Techmer PM, we are excited to partner with another leader in the advanced materials space,” said Craig Nikrant, Gryphon operating partner. “Techmer PM is at the forefront of delivering functional performance in some of the most critical and active areas of today’s economy, including weather resistance, light-weighting, and sustainable materials.”
Gryphon deal partner Leigh Abramson added that the firm “sees great potential for [Techmer] to grow its global reach and continue investing in technologies and capabilities that enable its customers to deliver the most innovative and complex projects.”
Techmer’s U.S. plants are in Clinton; Rancho Dominguez, Calif.; Wichita, Kan.; Dalton, Ga.; New Castle, Del.; and Batavia, Ill. Its Mexican plant is in Querétaro. The firm employs more than 600 worldwide.
Since 2014, Techmer has been named to the Plastics News Best Places to Work list six times, most recently in 2021. The firm is one of North America's 30 largest compounders and concentrate makers, according to PN data.
Gryphon focuses on growing and enhancing middle-market companies in partnership with experienced management. The firm has more than $9 billion of assets under management. Gryphon targets making equity investments of $50 million to $300 million in portfolio companies with enterprise values ranging from approximately $100 million to $600 million.
SK also recently completed its sale of NuCera Solutions LLC to Chase Corp. for $250 million. NuCera of Houston makes specialty resins and waxes for high-performance applications, primarily at a production site in Barnsdall, Okla. Westwood, Mass.-based Chase makes protective materials for high-performance uses. SK had owned NuCera for less than two years, acquiring the business from Baker Hughes Corp. in late 2020.
SK’s other plastics-related holdings include materials firms Ascend Performance Materials, Geon Performance Solutions and Deltech LLC and additives maker SI Group. In June, the firm acquired materials firm Valtris Specialty Chemicals, whose products include plastic additives.
On the packaging side, SK’s portfolio includes thermoformer Lacerta Group and iPackchem Group, a global firm that makes packaging for crop protection and specialty chemicals.