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By taking a majority interest in Techmer PM, SK Capital commits to recapitalizing the company in partnership with chairman and CEO John Manuck, who will continue to retain a significant ownership stake in Techmer.

Norbert Sparrow

July 21, 2020

4 Min Read
business handshake with global background
Image: Andrey Popov/Adobe Stock

Materials supplier Techmer PM LLC announced today that it has entered into a strategic partnership with an affiliate of New York–based private investment firm SK Capital Partners. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

SK Capital manages a growing portfolio of companies focused on the specialty materials, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals sectors. Through the acquisition of a majority interest in Techmer, SK Capital is committed to recapitalizing the Clinton, TN–based company in partnership with its chairman and CEO, John Manuck, who will continue to retain a significant ownership stake in Techmer PM.

Founded by Manuck in 1981 and privately held since then, Techmer PM develops and manufactures custom color and additive masterbatch products and specializes in modifying the appearance and properties of base polymers. It serves customers in the agriculture, automotive, aerospace, building and construction, consumer, medical, material handling, nonwovens, rigid packaging, and textile sectors, as well as many OEMs across the globe. Techmer also routinely collaborates with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and NASA in the research and development of innovative materials and reinforcements for use in fast-growing technologies, such as composites and additive manufacturing.

Techmer PM operates seven manufacturing plants in North America and employs more than 600 people. The company opened its first plant outside the United States, in Querétaro, Mexico, in 2017. The partnership with SK Capital is an extension of this, satisfying demand from brand owners and international clients “who want to see the company expand its footprint to allow it to better serve customers no matter where they are in the world,” said Manuck.

“With our seven plants in North America, we feel we have sufficient operations to fully support this region and are now focused primarily on growing around the globe," Techmer President Ryan Howley told PlasticsToday. "Discussions with our global customers, OEMs and brand owners have often centered around their desire for our technology and support directly in Europe and Asia. As part of our strategy, we will evaluate all avenues for growth, including acquisitions and greenfield construction,” Howley added.

Shade balls in L.A. reservoir

Techmer PM partnered with Artisan Screen Printing, a California-based blow molder, to develop 4-inch, specially formulated HDPE shade balls to reduce the evaporation of water from the L.A. Reservoir in Los Angeles. Image courtesy Techmer PM.

The healthcare and rigid packaging markets are a particular focus for Techmer, noted Howley.

“We have long had a focus toward the medical and healthcare markets. But that sector this year has, understandably, shown tremendous growth due to the COVID-19 pandemic," Howley told PlasticsToday. "Some of our top-selling products over the past few months are functional additives designed to enhance the performance of face mask and filtration media. We expect this trend to continue, as wearing a face mask will likely remain part of our culture for the foreseeable future.”

The focus of consumers on personal care and wellness "is why we have a full range of processing equipment in our Clinton, TN, applications lab to support the rigid packaging market," added Howley. "Our packaging customers have also shortened their design process with the addition of our digital design tool TechmerVision, which enables designers and engineers across the supply chain to communicate, collaborate, and innovate with the creation and application of new colors.”

Additive manufacturing is another area of keen interest for the company, according to Howley. "We have realized commercial success in aerospace, construction, and other processes where we are able to shorten production times by replacing expensive metal tooling with our HIFILL 3DP materials.”

Commenting on the partnership with SK Capital, Manuck said that the decision was made after careful consideration and due diligence because it "shares Techmer’s core values while bringing significant resources to bear in our new relationship. SK is committed to helping Techmer grow our business globally, while continuing to feed our insatiable drive to innovate and advance the greater cause of sustainability,” said Manuck.

For its part, SK Capital sees the partnership as an opportunity to strengthen its portfolio of companies in the specialty materials sector. “Techmer PM fits squarely within our strategy of investing in niche market leaders in partnership with visionary entrepreneurs,” said Jon Borell, Managing Director, SK Capital. “The specialty materials sector is an area where we have deep expertise through a number of our existing portfolio companies, and we are excited to leverage our resources to further strengthen the business.”

Other chemicals and materials companies in the SK Capital portfolio include Geon Performance Solutions, the SI Group, and Ascend.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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