Indianapolis — International interest in the U.S. plastics processing business has increased over the past decade, creating more opportunities for domestic firms to branch out overseas.
While these investments can highlight cultural differences and create logistical challenges brought on by different time zones, they also can create opportunities on both sides of a deal.
"There's been a ton of cross-border activity with plastics. Within plastics alone there has been 94 cross-border deals just in the last two years, so there's a ton of activity," said Mike Benson, a managing director with Stout, a global investment bank and advisory firm.
Today, we're seeing a significant amount of inbound interest into North America from European and Asian companies. If you go back 10 years, I would say very little," Benson said during the recent Benchmarking & Best Practices Conference organized by the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors in Indianapolis.
"Very little interest from either group and, frankly, if they were interested, they were not very sophisticated," Benson remembered. "They were very slow to move in the process. They didn't understand the process, and they certainly were not competitive from a value perspective."
But times have changed.
"Transition to today. They understand the process much better. They are able to compete from a timing perspective. And, frankly, a lot of time they are very compelling. They can be very compelling buyers," he said.
Multinational corporations from outside the region, he said, can bring a worldwide presence to a domestic processor as well as synergies and global selling opportunities.