Some well-known materials brands, including Santoprene and Kraton, changed hands in the second half of 2021.
Celanese Corp. acquired the Santoprene-brand thermoplastic vulcanizate business of ExxonMobil Corp. for $1.15 billion. The acquisition includes a TPV product portfolio, along with intellectual property, production and commercial assets.
According to Celanese Senior Vice President Tom Kelly, the acquisition "substantially strengthens our existing elastomers portfolio, allowing us to bring a wider range of functionalized solutions into targeted growth areas including future mobility, medical and sustainability."
The Santoprene unit is a leading global producer of TPV serving automotive and other markets. As part of the transaction, Celanese will acquire all customer and supplier contracts and agreements and world-scale production plants in Pensacola, Fla., and Newport, Wales, with more than 400 million pounds of combined annual production capacity.
In an all-cash deal, DL Chemical Co. Ltd. acquired Kraton Corp. for $2.5 billion. Houston-based Kraton is a maker of styrenic block copolymers, pine-based biomaterials and related products. DL of South Korea was known previously as Daelim Industrial Co. Ltd. As Daelim, DL bought Kraton's Cariflex-brand isoprene rubber business for $530 million in late 2019.
Major changes also are on the way for DuPont Co. and Trinseo, with both looking to sell plastic assets even as they made plastics-related deals.
DuPont bought composites firm Rogers Corp. for $5.2 billion in the second half of 2021. DuPont said Rogers' value-added products, such as high-frequency circuit materials, will offer it a competitive edge. Rogers has a workforce of more than 3,500 employees and operates 14 manufacturing sites. Its 2021 expected sales are approximately $950 million.
Officials with DuPont in Wilmington, Del., said the firm is looking to sell several brands, including Zytel nylon 6/6, Delrin acetal resins, Hytrel thermoplastic polyester elastomers, Crastin polybutylene terephthalate, Vamac ethylene acrylic elastomers and Tedlar polyvinyl fluoride.
Combined, these businesses represent approximately $4.2 billion in sales based on full-year 2021 estimates. Officials said the restructuring moves are part of DuPont's strategy to focus on high-growth, high-margin businesses.
Nylon is a major part of DuPont's history. The firm began commercial production of nylon 6/6 fiber in December 1939, at a newly built plant in Seaford, Del., about 90 miles from company headquarters in Wilmington.
Trinseo of Berwyn, Pa., is selling its styrenics businesses, including a major polystyrene resin operation. The firm also made a major second-half deal when it acquired acrylic sheet maker Aristech Surfaces LLC for $445 million. Trinseo officials described Aristech as "a leading North America manufacturer and global provider of [acrylic] continuous cast and solid surface sheets, serving the wellness, architectural, transportation and industrial markets." According to a recent Plastics News ranking, Aristech is North America's 46th-largest film and sheet maker, with annual sales estimated at $175 million. The firm employs 450 at two production sites.
The planned sale would include Trinseo's feedstocks and polystyrene reporting segments, as well as its 50 percent ownership of North American PS maker Americas Styrenics LLC, a leading North American PS maker that is a joint venture between Trinseo and Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.
Well-known compounder Star Plastics Inc. also found a new owner in the second half of the year, when it was acquired by Akoya Capital Partners. President Doug Ritchie founded Star in 1988.
Akoya is a Chicago-based private equity firm. Its current portfolio includes nine manufacturing and service companies. Plastics-related businesses owned by Akoya include Beacon Manufacturing Group, which does some injection molding work, and Trinity Technology Group, which makes specialty fluoropolymer film.