CLEVELAND—ChemSpec Ltd. has a familiar parent company.
Safic-Alcan, a Paris-based specialty chemicals distributor, acquired a majority stake of the Uniontown, Ohio-based chemical and polymer distributor that serves the rubber, adhesives and sealants markets.
“This transaction is in line with the strategic vision of the group to expand geographically in North America while developing business on its own without any restriction,” Safic-Alcan CEO Martial Lecat said in a news release.
The French firm now owns 75 percent of ChemSpec, according to a news release, and previously had still been involved as a minority investor. ChemSpec Marketing Director Chris Wagner said at the recent International Elastomer Conference in Cleveland that ChemSpec was spun off from Safic-Alcan in 2003 when the firm wanted to leave the U.S. market.
At that time, Dave Moreland became president of ChemSpec, and the news release said he and ChemSpec's 18 employees would remain in place. ChemSpec has 190 customers, and its revenue forecast for 2015 is expected to exceed $41 million, an increase from $36 million in 2014. Wagner said the firm's sales were about $5 million when it was first founded and has grown every year except for 2008, when companies were battling the recession.
“It's giving us some surplus capital and equity to play with,” he said. “We're looking at expanding in North America. We do have a Canadian distribution partner, and we're gaining traction in Mexico. But we're also looking at the possibility to enter into purchase agreements or a merger with companies throughout North America.”
Safic-Alcan also will bring ChemSpec into new markets, ones the French firm already has a presence in overseas. The process already has started in the cosmetics industry—Wagner said Marie Graet came over from Paris to serve as a sales manager for the ChemSpec U.S.-based cosmetic business.
She has eight years of experience, the last five in sales, with an undergraduate degree in chemistry. Wagner said she has a very good mix of technical expertise and sales experience.
Wagner said Safic-Alcan eventually will do the same thing with its life science and pharmaceuticals businesses. Safic-Alcan said ChemSpec's product range soon will include coatings, plastics and active ingredients for pharmacy.
“We are extremely pleased with Safic-Alcan's keen interest in ChemSpec Ltd. and their vision for the North American market,” Moreland said in a statement. “The growth of ChemSpec Ltd. is the result of our excellent supply base of quality manufacturers and service providers, partnerships with our many customers and our dedicated employees.
“ChemSpec Ltd. and Safic-Alcan hold the same core values in developing business relationships, which will continue to serve us extremely well moving forward.”
Safic-Alcan is a multinational distributor of specialty chemicals and provides a large range of polymers, materials and additives for the rubber, coatings, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industries. It posted revenues of nearly $445 million in 2014.