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Compounder adds to acquisitions with a lease

Italian thermoplastics and elastomers compounder SO.F.TER. is leasing the P Group, a bankrupt Italian compounder of engineering thermoplastics. Later this year an Italian court will decide whether SO.F.TER., or other interested companies, can acquire it.

For SO.F.TER. (Forlì, Italy), the leasing agreement gives it access to P Group's assets and capacity, and expands SO.F.TER.'s offerings for the automotive industry, particularly in Germany, and also in fiber-reinforced compounds. P Group is based in Ferrara and there compounds polypropylene, PBT, and polyamide; it also has a sales office in Stuttgart, Germany.

SO.F.TER.'s acquisition streak started in 2008 with the purchase of compounder Matrixx Europe. Earlier this year it acquired the Heraflex P elastomers range from Radici Group, with these elastomers molded for winter sports footwear soles. It also this year took over from DSM the Terra XPS range of TPE pellets; these are used in the infill of artificial turf, a niche in which SO.F.TER. claims global leadership.

SO.F.TER. Group had turnover of €92 million in 2009 in Europe. In addition to its headquarters in Forlì, and now the leased facility in Ferrara, it also has two other production units in Mexico and Brazil.

P Group was the supplier of the foamable polyester used in the Dolphin project, an effort it pursued with injection molding machine manufacturer Engel, moldmaker Kaufmann and plastics supplier BASF. The Dolphin technology enables molding of a hard/soft foam material combination in a single mold cavity. [email protected]

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