Founded by Michael Greenberg in the late '90s, TPE's primary business is as a spot-trading platform for commodity plastics, with the exchange acting as a go-between between buyers and sellers of resin, pairing off bids and offers anonymously, and occasionally buying and selling resin itself. In all these transactions, TPE records price movements, which it then supplies to the broader marketplace, working to create greater transparency within the resin market.
Greenberg is a former trading member of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, actually its youngest ever, and within plastics, he saw a need for an open market to buy and sell resin. Today, TPE operates as a real-time marketplace for domestic and international commodity grade resin, including various grades (11 in total) of polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene. The exchange has established trading relationships with a network of producers, distributors, traders, and brokers, which it says give it access to more than 100-million lb of warehoused resin and access, both direct and indirect, to most producers.
"[TPE] created something that had not existed in the past," Friedman told PlasticsToday, "price discovery and market liquidity within their asset class. The Plastics Exchange has a fantastic trading track record, achieving profitability on over 90% of its transactions. We feel that additional capital will help them accelerate their growth."
Friedman said TPE and Q Lotus, which has an office in Chicago but is headquartered in Miami, were introduced to each other by mutual contacts. Q Lotus, which has additional offices in London, Dubai, and New York, describes itself as a "diversified holding company" that operates a hedge fund, provides financing, and advises companies in M&A.