Celanese branches into elastomers through SO.F.TER. acquisition

Gains further foothold in engineering plastics with polyamide, polycarbonate, ABS and engineered PP compounds

Celanese Corporation has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the Forli, Italy-based SO.F.TER. Group, one of the world’s largest independent thermoplastic compounders. Celanese will acquire SO.F.TER. Group’s comprehensive product portfolio of engineering thermoplastics (ETPs), thermoplastic elastomers (TPEs), as well as all customer agreements and all manufacturing, technology and commercial facilities.

Celanese’s acquisition of SO.F.TER. will augment the company’s presence in engineering plastics and extend its presence into the elastomers field.

The acquisition will nearly double the number of Celanese engineered materials product platforms. Additionally, SO.F.TER. Group’s manufacturing facilities and product portfolio will provide a vehicle for additional growth, investment and synergies.

“This is the next step in the evolution of Celanese to extend our global leadership position in the engineered materials market,” said Scott Sutton, Celanese executive vice president and president of Materials Solutions. “SO.F.TER. Group is a leader in the design, development and production of ETPs and TPEs with a fast and flexible customer-oriented business model that will integrate well within the Materials Solutions core of Celanese. This acquisition continues Celanese’s focus on bringing technical expertise, production and compounding capabilities closer to our valued customers by extending our footprint with industry leading products and capabilities in Italy, Mexico, Brazil and the United States.”

“Joining Celanese is a natural continuation of the SO.F.TER. Group success story of growth, customer innovation and application expertise,” said Italo Carfagnini, chairman of the board of directors, SO.F.TER. Group. “From our beginnings in Italy in 1980 to being a key part of the Celanese engineered materials business, we will continue to drive innovative and highly specialized solutions for customers. We look forward to the future with Celanese, not only for our customers but also for our dedicated and talented employees.”

Celanese expects to integrate SO.F.TER. Group’s full product portfolio and production capabilities into the Celanese engineered materials business including the following brands:

  • Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPEs): Pibiflex (a PBT-polyether copolymer), Forprene thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV), Laprene styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene (SEBS), Sofprene T (styrene-butadiene-styrene), Forflex TPO, Sofprene footwear compounds based on SBS, Sofpur thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), Sofprene P (TPO), Gumfit copolyester;
  • Engineering Thermoplastics (ETPs): Litepol polypropylene (PP) filled with hollow glass microspheres, Tecnoprene glass-filled PP, Polifor PP, Talcoprene talc-filled PP, Carboprene calcium carbonate-filled PP, Litepol B polyamide (PA) and filled with hollow glass microspheres, Nylfor B PA 6, Nivionplast B PA 6, Nylfor A PA 66, Nylfor R, Nivionplast A PA 66, Pibifor PBT, Pibiter PBT, Abistir ABS, Retelan ABS, Blendfor PC/ABS, Reblend (PC/ABS), Stirofor (HIPS), Sanforc SAN, Cabofor PC and Norfor PPE.

SO.F.TER. Group began operations in 1980 in Italy by manufacturing polymeric compounds for the shoe-making industry. Today, SO.F.TER. Group has approximately 550 employees in Italy, Mexico, Brazil and the United States and has 55 production lines across four manufacturing facilities in Europe and four manufacturing facilities in the Americas. The SO.F.TER. Group’s product portfolio of engineered thermoplastics and thermoplastic elastomers includes more than 6,000 grades.

Celanese expects to complete the acquisition in the fourth quarter of 2016, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Until closing, Celanese and SO.F.TER. Group will continue to operate as independent businesses.

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