BIDDEFORD, Maine—The owners of Cri-Sil Silicone Technologies L.L.C. have acquired the Kencolor line of pigment and catalyst dispersions used in silicone compounding from Kenrich Petrochemicals Inc.
The line will operate as Kri-Color L.L.C., an independent company with the same ownership group as the custom silicone compounder, which includes Mark Stevens Sr. and Michael Hirschy.
Kri-Color also purchased a 10,000-sq.-ft. facility to house the 13 pieces of equipment and the Kencolor business about 15 miles from Cri-Sil's facility in Biddeford. In total, the firm said it spent about $500,000 on the transaction.
“We've been looking for some new product lines to vertically integrate and make some of our own raw materials,” said Mark Stevens Jr., executive vice president of Cri-Sil and Stevens Sr.'s son. “We found out that Kenrich was moving their company out of New Jersey, and one of their lines was up for sale. We did a lot of hard looking at their company, the market, what we do and what they do, and it looked like it was a pretty good fit.”
According to Kenrich's website, the firm has decided to focus on its organometallics and plasticizer businesses, which Kencolor and other rubber-related chemical masterbatches do not fit. The firm divested many of these product lines, and the site of the Bayonne, N.J., facility where Kencolor was produced will make way for mall development.
Stevens Jr. said Cri-Sil has some silicone dispersions capability—including blowing agent dispersions, process aid dispersions and tensile modifier dispersions—but this is its first venture into pigment dispersions.
Kri-Color has not made any hires yet. Right now, Cri-Sil employees are helping with the transition. But Stevens Jr. projects the new company will make about 10 hires as it builds its capability.
Cri-Sil's primary markets are military and wire and cable, but Stevens Jr. said the firm sells into every major market. Kencolor's main markets are medical, automotive and cosmetics, which should provide Cri-Sil with additional opportunities in those industries.
“The materials lend themselves well to a lot of Cri-Sil's current customer base,” he said of the Kencolor line. “Those folks that do a little compounding in-house as well as manufacture finished goods. They buy pigments, they buy catalyst dispersions, things like that. So it kind of goes hand in glove with what we have right now.”
Stevens Jr. said the firm completed the transaction—purchasing the Kencolor assets and the new facility—in November 2015. Since then, the firm has been relocating equipment from Bayonne to the new Kri-Color site, which consists of about 1,000 square feet of lab and office space.
No employees transferred from New Jersey, but all of the equipment, raw materials, inventory, formulations, intellectual property, the Kencolor trademark, and the customers related to the line relocated—or are in the process of being relocated—to Kri-Color, Stevens Jr. said. Kri-Color purchased about 13 pieces of equipment in the transaction, including planetary mixers, sigma blade mixers, three roll mills and related testing equipment.
The executive said Cri-Sil employees were trained at Kenrich's Bayonne facility to learn the process before the firm relocated the assets to Maine.
“It's not much different from what we do here at Cri-Sil,” Stevens said. “There wasn't a lot of training that needed to happen.”
Recently, Cri-Sil said it experienced a 10 percent expansion in employment, and its work force now consists of about 35 at its 33,000-sq.-ft. facility in Biddeford. The firm does about $10 million in sales and said it forecasts anywhere from 7 to 10 percent growth for 2015 and 2016.
The firm recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, founded in 1994 by Hirschy and Stevens Sr. Cri-Sil focuses on custom silicone solutions, dealing mainly with high consistency rubbers, liquid silicone rubber and RTVs in a variety of industries.