In a major deal affecting North American resin distribution, Ravago Group acquired a majority stake in M. Holland Co. for an undisclosed price. Ravago already ranks as the region's largest resin distributor. Northbrook, Ill.-based M. Holland is one of the five largest, according to industry estimates.
M. Holland officials said the transaction "will enable [the firm] to accelerate its growth strategy, providing the company with greater scale and resources as the plastics industry continues to rapidly evolve." The founding Holland family will retain "a significant stake" in the firm. No other financial terms were disclosed.
After the transaction closes, M. Holland will continue to operate independently as a subsidiary of Ravago Group. M. Holland's existing management team — including CEO and Chairman Ed Holland and President and Chief Operating Officer Marc Fern — will continue to lead the company. Ed Holland said the transaction "is an important inflection point … as it places the company on a clear path to continued and long-term success."
Ed Holland also said the deal "is a rare opportunity for two strong, family-owned organizations to come together in a way that will ensure our customers get what they need, when they need it, for years to come."
Ravago Holdings America President and CEO Jim Duffy said M. Holland "is a well-known and respected name in the plastics industry, and we are thrilled to welcome Ed and his entire team to the Ravago Group family of companies."
The deal marks the third time in less than five years that a major North American resin distributor has had an ownership change. In early 2019, private equity firm One Rock Capital Partners paid $640 million for Nexeo Plastics. Then in late 2022, Miami-based HIG Capital acquired Avient Corp.'s resin distribution unit in a $950 million all-cash deal. That business now operates as Formerra.
Both M. Holland and Ravago have grown through acquisitions in recent years. M. Holland made its first acquisition in late 2012 when it purchased Christler Chemical & Plastics Inc. of Wilsonville, Ore. M. Holland made four acquisitions from 2012-17, with the last being its deal for T&T Marketing of Andover, Mass.
Today, M. Holland has annual sales of more than $1.5 billion and more than 4,000 global customers.
Ravago's first big North American move came in 2006 when it acquired a majority stake in H. Muehlstein & Co. The firm then launched into a series of deals, including acquisitions of North American distributors Amco Polymers, Entec Polymers and Channel Prime Alliance. Most recently, Ravago partnered with solid waste management giant Republic Services Inc. of Phoenix to form Blue Polymers LLC, a joint venture that will build plants that generate 100 percent post-consumer resins.
M. Holland distributes materials for almost 30 suppliers, while Ravago's North American business units represent a similar number. Material suppliers represented by both firms include BASF, Braskem, Celanese, Chevron Phillips, Nova Chemicals, Covestro, ExxonMobil and Westlake.
Ravago, based in Luxembourg with U.S. headquarters in Orlando, Fla., distributes, resells, compounds and recycles plastic raw materials at more than 325 locations worldwide. It employs 8,000 at 45 manufacturing facilities, including 19 recycling and compounding plants with a combined annual capacity of about 1.7 billion pounds.
Shortly after the deal with Ravago, M. Holland announced the sale of its 3D Printing Group. Interfacial Consultants LLC is acquiring the business that specializes in integrated additive manufacturing technologies for injection molding. The 3D Printing Group provides prototype services, parts, mold production, contract manufacturing, training and consultation.
Interfacial Consultants is part of Nagase Group, a chemical trading firm in Japan that owns more than 100 companies around the world. Nagase makes and distributes materials including chemicals, plastics, food ingredients, pharmaceutical ingredients and substances for electronics.
"This acquisition accelerates our efforts and provides additional reach with M. Holland's extensive customer base," said Jeff Cernohous, chief operating officer at Interfacial.
In other second-half materials deals:
• Specialty resin maker Bakelite Synthetics acquired LRBG Chemicals Inc. for an undisclosed price. The acquisition "allows Bakelite to expand its footprint into Canada and to better serve the northeastern regions of Canada and the U.S.," said J.P. Aucoin, president and CEO of Atlanta-based Bakelite Synthetics.
LRBG is a specialty resin maker based in Longueuil, Quebec, near Montreal. The firm's materials are used in a wide variety of applications in the building and construction, transportation, industrial and chemical intermediate markets. Its products include melamine and urea powders and phenolic liquids.
Officials said the 86-year-old firm "is closely aligned to the Bakelite Synthetics business model."
In addition to Langueil, LRBG operates a plant in Toledo, Ohio. The combined Bakelite/LRBG will employ about 1,500 at 21 plants worldwide. The transaction is expected to close in August. Bakelite's product mix includes thermoset phenolics, melamine and urea and engineered thermoset molding compounds.
Bakelite, an iconic plastics material, was included in a $425 million deal between thermoset resins maker Hexion Inc. and two financial firms in 2020. Columbus, Ohio-based Hexion sold its phenolic specialty resin unit — including Bakelite — and two other businesses to Black Diamond of Greenwich, Conn., and Investindustrial of London. Bakelite, the first human-made thermosetting plastic, was synthesized by Leo Baekeland in 1907.
• Reynolds Advanced Materials Inc. acquired Eager Polymers and its distribution business in mold-making materials, epoxies and urethanes. Mark Villegas, who sold the business, will continue distributing other materials as the 13-year owner of Castolite Co.
Eager Polymers was a distributor for Reynolds and a Reynolds-related company, Smooth-On Inc., for many years. Now Villegas will focus on composite mold making, casting resins, fiberglass, marine gelcoats, custom colorants and thermoset plastics.
With the sale, Villegas said he will no longer need his Chicago warehouse. He plans to move Castolite to a smaller location in Lemont, Ill., about 25 miles southwest of Chicago.
Eager Polymers was founded in 1975 as Eager Plastics. Villegas, who had been with the company since 1997, bought the company in 2006 and changed the named to Eager Polymers. Reynolds offers silicone rubbers, liquid plastics, foams, epoxies and urethane rubbers at 11 U.S. locations and one in Canada. The company began in 1967 and is based in Macungie, Pa., near Allentown, as is Smooth-On.
Smooth-On, which has been around since 1895, custom formulates materials at its 370,000-square-foot plant, warehouse and lab. Its products include plastics, epoxies, adhesives and rubbers, rigid and flexible urethane foams, epoxies, adhesives, coatings and release agents.
• Geon Performance Solutions LLC acquired PolymaxTPE, a maker of thermoplastic elastomers with operations in China and the U.S. Polymax brings locations in Nantong, China, and Waukegan, Ill., to Westlake, Ohio-based Geon.
"This addition represents a key step forward in Geon's strategy. The Nantong facility and tenured team will enable us to better serve our customers in the Asia-Pacific region and the facility in Illinois will support our continuous growth in North American markets," Geon CEO Tracy Garrison said.
PolymaxTPE was founded in 2005 in China and expanded to Waukegan in 2015. Geon is owned by SK Capital Partners, a private equity firm.
"PolymaxTPE's leading thermoplastic elastomer technology will be fully leveraged by Geon to make the combined company a global leader in thermoplastic elastomer," said Martin Lu, chief technology officer and co-founder of PolymaxTPE.
• Global chemicals distributor Tricon Energy Inc. acquired Mexico's Polymat SA de CV. Financial details were not disclosed. In a statement, Houston-based Tricon said the acquisition of Polymat "aligns strategically with Tricon's focus on growth and customer service."
Polymat, it added, has a diverse product portfolio of polymers, engineering plastics and additives, three terminal shipment centers and warehouses across the region. Included in the acquisition is Q-Logistics, a Mexico-based logistics service provider. Polymat has been in business for 35 years and Tricon for 27 years.
Ángel Oria, Polymat's general manager, said that by combining their experience, Polymat and Tricon will be able to "better serve the market in Mexico and beyond." Oria will remain with Polymat to support the transition and strategic growth plan of the business. Officials also said that the Polymat brand will be retained.
Oria founded Polymat in 1988 together with Fernando López. Oria is a former president of Mexico's plastics industry association, Anipac. "This combination validates the success of Polymat over our 35-plus years in business and marks the next chapter in our growth together with Tricon," he said.