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A. Schulman completes purchase of Ferro business

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FAIRLAWN, Ohio—Less than a year after ending its effort to acquire Ferro Corp., A. Schulman Inc. has acquired most of that firm's Specialty Plastics business for $91 million in cash in a deal Schulman said was completed July 1.

The transaction includes four U.S. plants—in Stryker, Ohio; Evansville and Plymouth, Ind.; Carpentersville, Ill.—and one in Castellon, Spain. Those locations make custom engineered plastic compounds, colorants and liquid coatings that are sold into packaging, transportation, construction and other markets.

Fairlawn, Ohio-based Schulman has made nine acquisitions and formed three joint ventures in the last four years.

“Our immediate plans are to keep running these plants as they are,” said Joseph Gingo, Schulman's chairman, president and CEO. “They're very complementary to us from a market and product fit.”

He said the acquisition is positive for the firm's U.S. business.

“It's funny for a U.S.-based company to say we had to build up in the U.S., but that's what we had to do,” Gingo said. “Europe always has been good to us, but the U.S. has been our turnaround story.”

Businesses included in the sale employ 300 and had sales of $154 million in 2013.

The deal does not include Ferro pla-nts in Edison, N.J., and Carabobo, Venezuela, which make liquid thermoset resins.

Gingo said the businesses being acquired are what initially attracted Schulman to try to buy all of Ferro in 2013.

Gingo said Schulman was contacted in late 2013 by Ferro officials—only a few months after Schulman had withdrawn its earlier bid to acquire all of Ferro in a deal valued at about $855 million. Schulman first had made its offer in March 2013, but it was rejected by Ferro's board of directors, who considered it too low. After a lengthy war of words between the firms and Ferro shareholders, Schulman withdrew the offer.

The Evansville plant primarily makes glass-filled polypropylene compounds, with a good portion of sales into the appliance market. The Stryker plant makes color and additive concentrates, while the Carpenterville location produces Alcryn-brand thermoplastic elastomers.

Ferro's Specialty Plastics sales—including the two plants not included in the Ferro deal—were flat at just more than $170 million in 2013.