TORONTO—An established, vertically integrated foam supplier in Canada has purchased United Kingdom-based Alanto for an undisclosed sum as part of a concerted acquisition phase designed to grow the company's global reach.
Headquartered in Toronto, Jacobs & Thompson completed the transaction to acquire Alanto on Feb. 26. Its purpose was to expand the company's reach into the U.K. and other European markets, according to President Riley Brand. Before purchasing Alanto, Jacobs & Thompson had 300 employees at nine locations across North America—three in Canada, five in the U.S. and one in Mexico.
The addition of Alanto will bring the total number of employees to more than 350. There will be no layoffs as part of the deal. Alanto's three partners—Gary Knott, Darren Potter and Nick Smith—will remain with the organization, and will continue to run the Alanto part of the business somewhat autonomously.
"The U.K. and Europe are where we want to be, and in our industry you need to have local operations to really be able to sell to that market," Brand said. "It provides us with access to a brand-new customer base."
The largest percentage of business in which Jacobs & Thompson is involved is the rubber sponge market, which "involves a lot of air and foam," Brand said. Quick turnaround times and deadlines are expected and necessary, he added.
"We need flexibility, speed and rapid response capabilities because of the materials we use," Brand said. "That's really the biggest reason to need that local presence that (other manufacturers) may not have."
The deal is a financial and operational win for both organizations, given Jacobs & Thompson's desire for global growth and Alanto's interest in finding a buyer to help take it to the next level, Brand said. He considers both organizations to have a "best-in-class" brand with a loyal group of clients. The two companies also have dealt with similar materials and processes in their products.
"The flexibility that their management team had was also quite appealing to us," Brand said. "They have been able to adapt to the changing market with flexible solutions. It was really an intersection of interests."
Alanto is known in Europe for its rubber and foam conversion products and services. It specialized in cellular rubber, expanded foams, and other plastic and derivative materials. It manufactures a wide variety of products, ranging from rubber gaskets and neoprene sheeting to EPDM rolls. Alanto also converts cellular and solid rubber, expanded foam and non-metallic materials, and supplies bespoke foam rubber products. Its customers are most often in the automotive, construction and body armor/personal protection industries.
Over the next year, Brand expects that Jacobs & Thompson will make significant financial investments in the European market with the Alanto team that will include new equipment and other high-tech capabilities. The North American team will bring an added level of strategic vision.
Jacobs & Thompson sells to customers in a wide range of industries, including construction, automotive, HVAC, appliances, consumer goods and others. The company may be better known for some of its brands, including Aqua Lily Products, an industry-leading floating water mat for recreational use, and Polar Bear Products, which consist of several weatherproofing items designed to help protect a home, such as floor and roofing products, automotive accessories and specialty tapes. Polar Bear products also include specific personal protective equipment.
Jacobs & Thompson also has established partnerships with many suppliers across North America, Europe and Asia.
Demand generally has remained strong for the Jacobs & Thompson product line during the pandemic, and Brand expects incremental and steady organic growth as well. He declined to estimate potential revenue goals or impact.
One of the best pieces of news for clients is that whether they are a North American or European (Alanto) client, "they will see no changes to the service they are used to," Brand said. "It's status quo for our customers."
Jacobs & Thompson will continue to seek companies for strategic acquisitions when and where it makes sense, Brand said.