Nylon 6/6 leader Ascend Performance Materials has acquired a pair of materials firms in Italy as it puts a new push on becoming more global as what its CEO calls one of its "pillars of growth."
Houston-based Ascend purchased Poliblend and Esseti Plast GD from D'Ottavio Group. The deal includes a manufacturing facility in Mozzate, Italy. No purchase price was disclosed.
Esseti Plast is a producer of masterbatch concentrates. Poliblend makes compounds and concentrates based on virgin and recycled grades of nylon 6 and 6/6, polybutylene terephthalate and acetal.
In a Feb. 13 phone interview, Ascend President and CEO Phil McDivitt said that the part of the Poliblend/Esseti deal that he was "most excited about" was the firms' work with recycled content.
"It's important to formulate products with high performance using recycled materials, especially in the circular economy with its focus on sustainability," he said.
Ascend continues with its organic growth plans and also has "an ongoing M&A effort," McDivitt said. He added that supplies of nylon 6/6 are back to where they were before shortages of recent years.
"The [nylon 6/6] supply situation is good, although the market was down a bit last year because of automotive," McDivitt said.
Giancarlo D'Ottavio, Poliblend's president, will continue to run Poliblend's operations and join Ascend's European management team. He said Poliblend and Esseti are two co-located firms owned by the same family. The plant in Mozzate employs 80 and covers about 170,000 square feet. Markets served by Poliblend/Esseti include automotive, furniture, industrial and electrical, D'Ottavio added.
Poliblend was founded in 1999. Its products enhance the appeal and end-use performance of plastics products, packaging and fibers, officials said.
"The ability to offer our sustainable products in an ever-changing global business environment is a game-changer for Ascend," European leader John Saunders said.
"Combining the shared expertise of our companies creates opportunities to expand our reach while continuing to provide the high-quality products and service that our customers have come to trust," D'Ottavio said in a news release.
The deal marks the second European acquisition in two years for Ascend. In 2019, it bought a compounding business in Netherlands. Ascend now operates seven plants in the U.S. and Europe and employs more than 3,200.
Ascend ranks as one of the world's largest makers of nylon 6/6. At the K 2019 trade show, the firm introduced several new grades of nylon 6/6, including a copolymer series for films, a Vydyne ECO-brand series for electrical and electronic uses and a Vydyne ThermaPlus grade for cable ties and fasteners.
Ascend also continues to work on increasing capacity for key raw materials as well as for nylon 6/6. Officials said late last year that the firm is making progress with an expansion that will add almost 200 million pounds of annual production capacity for adiponitrile feedstock at its plant in Decatur, Ala.