Streetsboro, Ohio — Compounder Aurora Plastics LLC has broken ground on an expansion in Streetsboro.
The 20,0000-square-foot expansion will allow Streetsboro-based Aurora to install a new blending line that will increase the site's annual production capacity by 100 million pounds. It's set to be completed by the end of 2023. The project will create 30 new jobs at the site, which now employs about 80.
"This is a significant expansion for us and one that's been a long time coming," CEO Darrell Hughes said at an Aug. 4 groundbreaking event. "It's a great recognition of our customer service and our safety operations."
With the expansion, Aurora will be able to increase production of compounds and alloys based on rigid PVC and also of chlorinated PVC (CPVC) materials. Hughes added in a news release that Aurora "sees continued strength in our end markets … over the next several years."
In addition to Streetsboro, Aurora has manufacturing plants in North Carolina, Quebec, Massachusetts and Texas. Major end markets for Aurora include siding, deck and rail, window and door, recreational, automotive, wire and cable, battery and footwear. The firm also makes compounds based on thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs).
The Streetsboro plant is Aurora's largest. Hughes said the plant's operations "are industry-leading, incorporating sophisticated compounding assets and process controls." It's also the site of Aurora's rigid polymer technical center.
Aurora has been majority owned since August 2021 by investment form Nautic Partners of Providence, R.I. At the Aug. 4 event, Nautic Managing Director Chris Pierce said that there's "a lot of demand for [Aurora's] products and we think there will be for a long time."
"We have a lot of confidence in leadership and plant management," he added. Nautic also will look to grow Aurora through acquisitions, according to Pierce.
Aurora officials said the firm considered expanding in Texas before choosing Ohio. "Northeast Ohio is located in a region of the country where there's a large number of extruders and molders," they said. "This point had weight in the decision for Ohio."
The city of Streetsboro has granted Aurora a 49.5 percent tax abatement on real property improvements for 10 years for the expansion. Aurora officials said the tax abatement doesn't impact property tax revenues for local schools.
Prior to Nautic, Chicago-based Wind Point Partners had been majority owner of Aurora since 2016, in partnership with company management and the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan. Aurora made four acquisitions while owned by Wind Point, most recently buying Elastocon TPE Technologies of Springfield, Ill., in early 2019.
Nautic has been an active plastics investor in recent years, most recently acquiring plastic plumbing products distributor Commercial Industrial Supply of Rock Hill, S.C., earlier this month. Nautic made that purchase through Harrington Industrial Plastics of Chino, Calif., which it acquired in 2020. In mid-2020, Nautic used Harrington to buy Aetna Plastics of Valley View, Ohio.
Nautic is a middle-market private equity firm that focuses on health care, industrials, and services. The firm has completed more than 140 platform transactions in its 35-plus-year history.