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November 16, 2007

2 Min Read
PolyOne purchases GLS

Compounding power PolyOne (Cleveland, OH) has acquired specialty thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) manufacturer GLS Corp. (McHenry, IL), in a deal that pairs the global marketing, technical, and distribution presence of PolyOne with the high-growth “soft-touch” markets served by GLS, particularly healthcare and electronics. Terms of the deal between the publicly traded PolyOne and privately owned GLS were not disclosed, but a release stated that GLS generates approximate annual sales of $130 million and has posted double-digit revenue growth in each of the last 10 years. GLS, which has 200 employees, manufactures five standard TPE product lines, including thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) and thermoplastic vulcanizate (TPV) alloys, at sites in McHenry and a new Suzhou, China facility that opened in 2006. At the October K show, the company launched a new family of TPEs based on Dow Chemical’s Infuse olefin block copolymers (OBC). The company also partners with Kraton Polymers and BASF on alloys.

In addition to purging compounds, colorants, and additives for TPEs, PolyOne has existing TPE capacity with its Synprene TPE line based on stryrenic block copolymer chemistry; Elastamax EG thermoplastic elastomers, which are a thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) based on a rheology-modified alloy of polyolefins and elastomers; Elastamax XL, which are pelletized blends of polyolefins and elastomers such as EPDM; and Onflex-V TPV, a copolymer which consists of a polyolefin phase with a crosslinked EPDM phase dispersed into it.

PolyOne formerly had a presence in thermoset elastomers, but in October 2003, it announced a restructuring plan to focus on its compounding, color/additives masterbatch, and distribution businesses, deciding to divest its elastomers and performance additives, engineered films, and specialty resins units.

The elastomers operation, which focused on thermoset elastomer and rubber products, was the first to go, being sold to an investor group led by Lion Chemical Capital LLC and ACI Capital Co. Inc., which subsequently changed the name to Excel Polymers. Following a string of such divestments—the most recent being the July 6 sale of its 24% interest in Oxy Vinyls LP to Occidental Chemical Corp.—the GLS deal marks PolyOne’s first acquisition since the restructuring began. PolyOne, which had 2006 revenues of $2.6 billion, recently invested $10 million last year in a specialty compounding plant.—[email protected]

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