"We believe that the plastics industry has a number of attractive elements," he said. "The industry has been steadily growing over many years, as the technology supporting plastics provides an expanding set of technical capabilities."
Orchard Creek is pursuing investments in smaller businesses, with annual sales ranging from $4 million to $20 million, and Carlson said he will have a "longer investment horizon" than other private equity firms. He said Orchard Creek wants to buy "well-established plastics companies with a defensible market position and a proven track record."
In another major second-half deal, Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC acquired IPL Plastics Inc., a major injection molder of pails and other rigid packaging, in a $555 million stock transaction.
IPL is based in Montreal and has been publicly traded on Toronto's stock exchange since 2018. But the shares have underperformed since the IPO. Madison Dearborn agreed to pay C$10 per share for the company. That's 26 percent less than the C$13.50 that shareholders paid for the company when it filed the IPO.
The second half also saw a full-circle deal when investment firm Graham Partners — a former part owner of packaging giant Berry Global Group Inc. — bought Berry's flexible converting business. That deal reunited Larry Goldstein, CEO of Graham's Advanced Barrier Extrusions LLC unit, with a business he had run while at Berry.
The deal includes six printing and laminating flexible packaging facilities that had been part of Berry's North American extrusion, converting and coating business. Graham, of Newtown Square, Pa., will combine the Berry business with ABX, its own flexible packaging unit based in Charlotte, N.C. The plants involved in the sale are in Columbus, Ga.; Homer, La.; Macedon, N.Y.; Schaumburg, Ill.; and Milwaukee and Pewaukee, Wis. Around 700 Berry employees are moving to ABX in the deal.
Graham acquired ABX in 2018. Prior to the Berry deal, ABX operated two plants and employed about 100. The combined business will operate under the ABX name. The Berry business being acquired has annual sales of more than $200 million.
In other notable second-half deals:
• Torekov, Sweden-based injection molder Nolato made a big growth move for growth in the U.S. market, buying Bethel, Vt.-based GW Plastics Inc. Officials with both firms said the two companies are an excellent fit, with complementary medical and automotive molding businesses and similar corporate cultures.
"Over the years, GW has been approached by a lot of companies. The one that resonated, even when we were not interested in selling, was Nolato," Brenan Riehl, president and CEO of GW Plastics, told Plastics News.
The $225 million deal will give Nolato Medical Solutions, the company's medical business unit, a stronger position in North America. GW Plastics has both plastics and liquid silicone rubber medical molding operations.
GW Plastics was the PN 2009 Processor of the Year. It posted sales of $178 million in 2019. GW also won the 2015 Sustained Excellence award, which honors continued growth and achievement and is given to a past Processor of the Year winner.
GW was founded in 1955 by John Galvin and Odin Westgaard, who both had extensive plastics industry experience. They sold to Carborundum Co. in 1973. After a series of deals, GW passed to Standard Oil of Ohio in 1981. In 1984, a group of managers and investors led by Frederic Riehl — Brenan's father and the current GW chairman — bought the company from Sohio.
• PPC Flexible Packaging LLC made its sixth acquisition in three years, this time buying Custom Poly Bag Inc. for an undisclosed price. PPC of Buffalo Grove, Ill., does flexographic printing and converting of flexible films, bags and pouches. Alliance, Ohio-based Custom Poly is a flexible packaging converter that serves bakery, medical and specialty consumer markets.
PPC now operates eight plants and employs more than 1,000. Officials said that all of the acquired businesses were specialty and differentiated flexible packaging firms. The Custom Poly deal is the first for PPC since October 2019, when it acquired Popular Ink LLC of McKinney, Texas.
• Thermoset molder and compounder Mar-Bal Inc. purchased Lattice Composites LLC, a Riverside, Calif.-based epoxy and polyester compounder. Mar-Bal will merge Lattice with its AltraSet Composite Technologies unit, and Lattice will move its advanced manufacturing equipment and staff to Mar-Bal's AltraSet plant in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
The deal will expand Mar-Bal's composite technologies to include Lattice's customized epoxy chemistry systems. "This is a natural evolution for us," Mar-Bal President and CEO Scott Balogh told PN. He added that aerospace customers are looking for the repeatability and scalability that Lattice's materials can provide.
• Flexible packaging giant ProAmpac purchased a Canadian holding company that includes both plastic and paper bags and foam trays for the retail and foodservice industries. The Rosenbloom Groupe is based in Montreal and covers paper bags made under the Rosenbloom name, plastic bags, sacks and liners made by Hymopack Ltd. of Toronto and Dyne-A-Pak Inc. of Laval, Quebec, a maker of expanded polystyrene trays for fresh meats and fish.
ProAmpac Ranks as North America's ninth-largest film and sheet maker, according to the most recent PN ranking, with estimated sales of $990 million in the region. Cincinnati-based ProAmpac is owned by Pritzker Private Capital. ProAmpac officials said the acquisition boosts its business through greater reach into Canada and more offerings for retailers and foodservice customers.
• Westlake, Ohio-based Nordson Corp. sold the screws and barrels product line in its polymer processing systems division to Chicago-based private equity firm Altair Investments Inc.
The product line, which includes the Xaloy brand, generates more than $70 million in annual sales and employs 200. Started in 1929, the Xaloy brand pioneered the use of bimetallic materials to improve the performance of a wide range of plastic processing equipment for both molders and original equipment manufacturers.
The product line consists of Xaloy manufacturing facilities in Austintown, Ohio, and Chonburi, Thailand. Both facilities are being acquired as well as the equipment, patents and intellectual property. About half of its customers are plastics processors and half are machinery OEMs, such as KraussMaffei, Davis-Standard and Milacron.
• In a unique deal, the fruitcake market played a role in Wisconsin-based packaging thermoformer Portage Plastics Corp. expanding into the Sunshine State, by acquiring Plant City, Fla.-based Paradise Plastics.
PPC already has plants in Portage, Wis., and Brownsville, Texas. The deal is, in part, the result in declining interest in making homemade holiday fruitcakes.
Paradise Plastics was formerly the thermoforming and injection molding unit of Paradise Inc., a publicly traded fruit company that is in the process of liquidating. The company sold its candied fruit operation to Marion, N.Y.-based Seneca Foods Corp. in July 2019.
Paradise Inc. specialized in making syrup-infused fruit for fruitcakes. The company once produced 85 percent of the candied fruit consumed in the United States, according to a Tampa Bay Times report, with the majority sold in supermarkets.