It was all smiles when PolyOne Corp. announced the sale of its elastomer and additives division in July.
PolyOne was happy-the company got the $120 million it hoped to obtain for the world's largest custom mixing operation. The new owners, Lion Chemical Capital L.L.C. and ACI Capital Co. Inc., were glad to get a business in a market they view as fragmented and ripe for growth. And management at what soon was named Excel Polymers L.L.C. was excited about the new owner's desire for acquisitions and expansions.
PolyOne in mid-2003 decided to focus on plastics compounding, color and additives masterbatch and distribution, selling its other businesses. The company got other bidders for the thermoset elastomer compounding unit, but Lion Chemical and ACI were the best bets for a good eight months. The deal closed Aug. 5, and PolyOne got $106 million in cash and $14 million in the form of a note for the business.
The new owners are led by an elastomer industry veteran, Peter W. De Leeuw, Lion Chemical managing director, who will serve as chairman. He ran the Shell Chemical Co. Kraton thermoplastic elastomers business for a number of years, and has 30 years of experience in the chemical sector.
His brother, David E. De Leeuw, also a Lion Capital managing director, has spent 30 years in investment banking, private equity and corporate finance.
Lion Chemical is a private equity firm that seeks to invest in chemical and affiliated industries with sales of more than $100 million but preferably closer to $500 million.
ACI Capital invests in middle market firms that have sales between $50 million and $500 million. Its holdings range from telecommunications and energy companies to the Jenny Craig weight control business.
Excel's CEO is John E. Quinn, who had been PolyOne vice president and general manager of the business. And soon after the sale, the company added Dale Dodrill-former chairman, president and CEO of Groupe Michelin's American Synthetic Rubber Corp. business-as executive vice president.
The operation had recovered from a downturn in recent years. At the time of the sale, Quinn said the firm's plants were running at least five and as much as seven days a week, and the business was experiencing double-digit growth.
``Without a question, we will be used as a platform for growth,'' Quinn said. ``Looking for strategic acquisitions is a clear priority.''
Capacity expansions at the time of the sale already were taking place in England and China. The firm also operates three plants in the U.S. and one in Mexico, and employs 1,200.
The headquarters for Excel, which posts annual sales of about $350 million, remains in Solon, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb.