Ascend Performance Materials has entered the Asian manufacturing field by acquiring a compounding plant in China.
Houston-based Ascend, a leading nylon 6/6 resin maker and compounder, is buying the plant from Chinese firms NCM (Changshu) Co. Ltd. and Tehe Engineering Plastic (Suzhou) Co. Ltd. The plant is located in Changshu Yushan High-Tech Industrial Park, about 60 miles outside of Shanghai.
"We've had a strategy to become more locally based, and this will be a good location for us," Ascend President and CEO Phil McDivitt said in a June 10 interview with Plastics News. "It's a nice facility from a manufacturing standpoint that's closer to our customers and also offers us technology and R&D."
No purchase price or employee total was disclosed in the deal. The plant operates two twin-screw extrusion lines and has room for growth, officials said. It covers about 200,000 square feet, including warehousing space.
The site had compounded nylon and other engineering resins. McDivitt said the plant now will focus on nylon 6/6 compounds for applications in the automotive, electrical/electronics and consumer/industrial sectors, as well as new ones in 3D printing and high-performance films.
Officials added in a June 11 news release that the plant's location near both China's major automotive industry clusters and Shanghai "made it an ideal choice for a hub to help us better reach the rapidly emerging markets in Asia."
"This is an exciting chapter for Ascend in Asia as it provides regional manufacturing and innovation capability to efficiently respond to customer needs and to customize formula solutions for Asian markets," Asia-Pacific Senior Vice President Kevin Wu said in the release.
COVID-19 travel restrictions prevented McDivitt and other members of Ascend's U.S.-based staff from physically visiting the plant before the sale. But company staff from Ascend's Shanghai office were able.
"We're fortunate that we have good people on the ground there," McDivitt said June 10.
Ascend previously had supplied its Asian customers with resins and compounds imported from the U.S. The company plans to take final ownership of the plant in August.
The deal for the Chinese plant is Ascend's second of 2020. In February, it acquired Italian compounders and concentrate makers Poliblend and Esseti Plast GD, both of which had been owned by D'Ottavio Group.
McDivitt said the firm will continue to look for more acquisitions. "We have an active pipeline for deals that fit our overall strategy and that make financial sense," he said.
Ascend employs 2,600 and operates nine global locations, including five fully integrated manufacturing facilities in the southeastern U.S. and a compounding plant in the Netherlands.