Cleveland, Ohio – Polymer Solutions Group (PSG) has blazed the acquisition trail to gain significant growth and expand its capabilities and reach during the last two years.
Interview: Acquisitions help PSG expand its business
That strategically planned aggressive expansion program likely won't end soon, according to Mike Ivany, president and CEO of PSG, which is headquartered in Rome, Georgia, although he has offices in both Cleveland and Rome.
Since mid-2015, the company has expanded rapidly thanks to three key acquisitions and strong organic growth.
"The growth has been organised as we take advantage of market opportunities to execute on our well defined plan to build a business that focuses on specialty polymers and polymer processing," Ivany said.
Describing the solutions PSG provides, he said the firm has coined "Process, Protect, Perform and Serve" as its motto. Process stands for improved polymer processing; protect is the protection of polymer properties; perform signifies enhanced polymer performance; and serve stands for serving and supporting the firm's customers.
All companies under the PSG banner – Peach Tree Labs Inc., Flow Polymers LLC, Sasco Chemical Group Inc. and Alkon Solutions Ltd – follow that motto.
PSG's most recent acquisition was the purchase of the Alkon business and its equipment from Stephenson Group Ltd in late September. Based in Leeds, UK, the firm is a manufacturer of anti-tack products used in the rubber industry.
Alkon will continue operating out of a Stephenson facility in Leeds, Ivany said, and PSG's machinery will remain at the site. Stephenson will continue to produce Alkon products for PSG from the plant, he said.
The acquired company's technology and geographical scope complements Sasco's rubber anti-tack agent operation in North America and, Ivany said, broadens PSG's product offerings and accelerates the building of its global additives business.
He said the acquired company's "premium anti-tack products, customer service and support fit perfectly with Sasco's state of the art anti-tack slurry systems and unmatched customer service. By coupling Sasco and Alkon with Flow Polymers, PSG continues to expand our rubber processing additives business foundation and global footprint."
Adding Alkon further expands PSG's suite of technologies, said Sal Gagliardo, chairman of PSG and industry and operations partner of New York-headquartered Arsenal Capital Partners, the parent of PSG.
He said Arsenal is committed to support the rapid growth of PSG "and will continue to pursue strategic investments that will further transform the company."
PSG was formed in June 2015 when Arsenal purchased Rome-based Peach State Labs Inc., a producer of specialty polymers and performance chemicals, produced principally for the construction and lubricants markets. Peach State has plants in Rome and Dalton, Ga.
Arsenal moved quickly from that initial acquisition to expand the business quickly.
Equally important, Ivany, a 30-year veteran of the chemicals industry, was the president and CEO of Flow Polymers and he was elevated to the same posts at PSG.
That purchase was followed by the acquisition of Sasco Chemical Group Inc. in Albany, Georgia, in mid-June. A producer of specialty chemicals for the rubber, wood, consumer and medical industries, the company is a leading producer of rubber anti-tack agents in North America with its PolyCoat, TechKote and Sasco Cote product lines.
In addition to its production plant in Albany, Sasco operates a research and development center in Macon, Ga. It produces more that 1,200 products and distributes them globally.
That set the stage for PSG to expand overseas with the addition of Alkon.
Each company that Arsenal acquired to form PSG has become a stronger operation as part of the group, according to Ivany.
For instance, he cited the gains made by Flow Polymers. "For 16 years I have led a team that has grown Flow Polymers focusing on the global rubber additive and dispersions market," he said. "PSG gave us the opportunity to expand Flow's reach by combining our team with the teams of three other great companies.
"Peach State Labs is a speciality polymer and chemical manufacturer that has expertise in soil and stain protection for the carpet industry. Their capability in the specialty polymer and chemical space, coupled with the capabilities and market reach of Flow and Sasco put us in a unique position to develop new additives technologies for the polymers markets."
Additionally, Ivany noted, the opportunity to work with Arsenal "was a significant plus." He said Arsenal's focus and success in the specialty industrial market, along with the strength of PSG, was an opportunity he couldn't turn down when he was offered the posts of president and CEO.
Ivany's 32 years in the rubber industry include nine years with BF Goodrich and Michelin as a compound development engineer, a two-year stint at Akzo Nobel as technical service manager, five years as vice president of business development and international business at Elastochem, and 16 years heading up Flow Polymers and PSG.
He predicted PSG will continue to grow both organically and via acquisition. On the innovation and new product side, he said, Sasco just came out with new anti-tack technology for the synthetic rubber market "that is performing beautifully." Flow recently introduced SureMax, a new technology focused on improving the processing of silica tread compounds while enhancing performance.
"And Peach States' work in surface protection chemistry is showing great opportunities in new hard and soft surface polymer applications," he said.
PSG's greatest attributes are its strong customer relationships and the technologies and processes that it is developing to support customers' businesses, Ivany said.
Currently, PSG has a work force of about 250 and operates six plants—two in Cleveland, one in Dalton, one in Rome; and two in Albany.
Each company within the group functions independently, Ivany said, "but we are developing opportunities for them to work closer."