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Americhem acquires compounder Vi-Chem

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Materials firm Americhem Group has acquired Vi-Chem Corp., a compounder based in Grand Rapids.

It is the third acquisition in four years for Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based Americhem. No purchase price was disclosed in the deal, which was completed March 18.

“Vi-Chem brings us extensive knowledge in (thermoplastic elastomers) and (polyvinyl chloride) compounds,” Americhem CEO Rick Juve said. “This broadens the types of compounds and material solutions we can provide to the market.”

Vi-Chem employs 85 at a 170,000-sq.-ft. plant in Grand Rapids. The firm generates 90 percent of its annual sales from the automotive market. No annual sales total was available, but Juve said the acquisition will push Americhem's total annual sales close to $300 million.

The product mix at Vi-Chem is evenly split between PVC and TPE compounds. Americhem has done work in PVC masterbatch concentrates, but not in compounding, Juve said. The firm also previously had done only a small amount of work with TPEs.

In addition to automotive, he said the addition of Vi-Chem will provide Americhem with opportunities to grow in medical and other markets.

Americhem is buying Vi-Chem from Leonard and Emili Slott, who bought the firm in 2004 from profile extruder Nicholas Plastics Inc. Leonard Slott had worked at Vi-Chem since 1985.

“We're a small compounder in western Michigan, and with the automotive acquisitions that were taking place, we were being asked to do things around the world,” Leonard Slott said. “We needed to find a bigger company with an international presence—and Americhem was that company. Their core values are similar to ours, with focus on the customer.”

Americhem has facilities in North America, Europe and Asia.

The couple will leave the firm to pursue other business interests, but Vi-Chem's remaining management team—with average experience of 15 years—will remain. Americhem will use the Grand Rapids site as its center of excellence for TPE and PVC compounds, Juve said.

Slott—who lives about seven miles away from the plant—also has offered to help if needed. “I can stop by if they need me to,” he said.

Juve said Americhem will continue to look for more acquisitions. “We're still focused on being a global material solutions provider,” he said.

In late 2012, Americhem bought compounder Infinity Compounding of Swedesboro, N.J. It followed that deal in late 2014 by purchasing color compounder LTL Color Compounders Inc. of Morrisville, Pa.