ORLANDO, Fla.—New PolyOne CEO Robert Patterson sees a lot of good things when he looks at his company, which ranks as North America's largest compounder and concentrate maker.
“We have a lot of great momentum going,” Patterson said in an interview at NPE 2015. “I'm very grateful for my time at PolyOne in previous roles and for the guidance I got from (former CEO) Steve Newlin in this role.”
“He always said to put customers first and treat them well. Strategy is important—but excellence and execution are just as valuable.”
Patterson took the top job at Avon Lake, Ohio-based PolyOne in May. Newlin had held the job for eight years, guiding the company through a rough stretch and returning it to higher profitability. Patterson joined the firm in 2008.
Looking to 2015, Patterson said that he sees demand for both consumer products and polymer solutions on the rise. In the automotive and aerospace sectors, he said “everyone's trying to get weight out” through lightweighting. Color also is playing a larger role in many consumer applications.
PolyOne has made three major acquisitions since 2008, picking up GLS Corp., ColorMatrix and Spartech Corp. More deals might be in the company's future, according to Patterson.
“We spend a lot of time looking at deals,” he said. “We're looking for deals that help us expand in technology, not just in geography. That's the best way for us to serve multi-national OEMs.”
PolyOne could benefit from lower oil prices as its energy costs decline and as consumers spend less on gasoline to fuel their vehicles. “Lower gas prices can provide much-needed consumer stimulus,” Patterson said.
At NPE 2015, PolyOne met with existing customers and talked with potential new customers as well. “Our theme is differentiation,” Patterson said. “Not just for the show—it's a way of life for us.”
Collaboration also is important to the firm, he added, and service “is a huge part of what makes a company a specialty company.”
PolyOne also launched five new technologies at NPE 2015, including:
• Geon BIO flexible PVC, a non-phthalate material that offers 30 percent bio-based content with no performance tradeoffs and excellent processability for health care, footwear and furniture applications.
• Resound NF reinforced materials, which are based on an eco-conscious, natural fiber-filled technology and are in current evaluations at several key auto makers for use in under-the-hood, lighting and semi-structural components.
• Geon Bold PVC solutions, which are dark, richly colored materials that stand up to the elements, especially heat build-up, without losing their intensity or performance for windows, fencing, decking and siding.
• Versaflex VDT vibration dampening TPE for overmolding, a material that enables manufacturers of consumer electronics, power tools, sporting goods and appliances to add comfort and resilience to their products, providing a better end-user experience.
• ColorMatrix Select, a cloud-based liquid color creation and supply service that combines advanced liquid colorants, Web-accessed software and automated dispensing technology. The service aims to enable brand managers, converters and designers to take greater control of their color development and supply chain.
PolyOne posted sales of more than $3.8 billion in 2014, up 2 percent vs. 2013. The firm's 2014 adjusted earnings-per-share of $1.80 also was the highest in the firm's 15-year history.