PolyOne Corp., Cleveland, oh, which has major interests in compounding, is selling its 70% interest in compounder So.F.teR, in Forli, Italy, to a company administered by its previous owner, Italo Carfagnini, now the managing director.
So.F.teR’s main activity is production of styrene-butadiene-styrene compounds for footwear, but it also compounds some polyolefins and developed technology for making thermoplastic vulcanizates (tpv), which are marketed as Forprene. So.F.teR’s expertise in tpvs is the main reason M.A. Hanna (before joining with Geon to form PolyOne in 2000) bought the firm in 1998.
PolyOne will have an exclusive technology and trademark license for production and sale of So.F.teR’s tpvs in North America and Asia, and it will continue to represent So.F.teR on a distribution basis in Europe. A statement from PolyOne further stated that there would be “a continuing relationship for future technology development within this product area.”
This is the second time Carfagnini has bought back So.F.teR. He first sold the company to U.K. company Evode, and then reacquired it in 1994.
Sources indicate that neither Evode nor PolyOne was able to implement its corporate culture into So.F.teR. Plus, its reliance on the footwear industry was seen as a weakness. “It’s something you don’t want to be in if you are looking for good margins,” says one close observer.