Top-dollar deals, repeat buyers highlight 2022 M&A

Frequent buyers and firms making multiple deals continued to make headlines in the second half of 2022.

Pipe maker Atkore Inc. made four deals in the half. The firm expanded in high density polyethylene pressure pipe with the purchase of United Poly Systems. Atkore, based in Harvey, Ill., said that adding Springfield, Mo.-based United Poly and its two plants in Missouri and New Mexico will allow it to better tap into telecom, water infrastructure, renewables and energy markets.

Atkore then made two separate but related acquisitions in Oregon, with the purchases of Northwest Polymers in Molalla and Cascade Poly Pipe & Conduit in Woodburn. Northwest turns recyclable post-industrial waste plastic into pellets for decking and fencing manufacturers and more recently for conduit to house fiber for broadband. The company, which recycles PVC, HDPE and other plastics, is a supply partner to Cascade and other manufacturers in the region.

Launched two years ago, Cascade Poly extrudes smooth-wall HDPE conduit from recycled materials, primarily for the telecommunications, utility and datacom markets. Atkore also acquired the assets of Lovelady, Texas-based Elite Polymer Solutions LLC, a manufacturer of PE conduit, for $91.6 million. The acquired company has about 55 employees and will continue operating at its current location. Elite makes HDPE pipe, innerduct and conduit that provides pathways and protection for wires and cables for fiber optic, electrical and cable markets.

Atkore ranked 16th in the 2021 Plastics News ranking of pipe, profile and tubing makers, with $309 million in relevant sales, while United Poly had an estimated $80 million in sales and ranked 50th.

Investment firm Thunderbird LLC made its second plastics-related acquisition of the year, buying injection molder Bright Plastics Inc., a contract manufacturer based in Greensboro, N.C., with custom capabilities, especially for large-scale items. Bright Plastics will be added to Thunderbird’s portfolio of manufacturing companies — Impact Molding — to expand injection molding support for the medical, defense, aerospace, transportation, recreation, waste management and telecom markets.

The Bright deal follows Thunderbird’s acquisition of a contract manufacturer of components in May. The firm bought MPR Plastics Inc., an injection molder in Elgin, Ill., with 23 molding machines.

Medical device maker Canadian Hospital Specialties Ltd. bought two plastics processing firms to beef up domestic manufacturing and reduce its reliance on imports from outside North America. The Oakville, Ontario-based firm acquired two other Canadian firms, Stadco Polyproducts Inc., an injection molder in Mississauga, Ontario, and Respan Products Inc., a medical tubing and mask maker in Erin, Ontario.

“These acquisitions provide us with the ability to manufacture and supply a greater volume of Ontario-produced medical products for the Canadian and U.S. markets,” said Mike Canzoneri, president and CEO.

SyBridge Technologies LP of Southfield, Mich., acquired Calframax Technologies Inc., a mold maker based in Oldcastle, Ontario, to expand in the consumer end market. Founded in 1995, Calframax makes molds for household items, industrial packaging and horticultural products.

SyBridge also acquired Galway, Ireland-based Galway Tool & Mould Ltd. to expand its presence in the life sciences end market and get a foothold in Europe from the heart of a medical technology hub. Founded in 1990 by Padraig McFadden, Galway has produced more than 1,000 molds, mostly for the medical device and pharmaceutical markets.

Also in the second half, SyBridge purchased most of the assets of Chicago-based Fast Radius Inc. for $15.9 million in a bankruptcy court process. Officials said SyBridge acquired those assets to bolster its prototyping, additive manufacturing and software capabilities. With the three second-half deals, SyBridge now has made 14 acquisitions in three years.

DazPak Flexible Packaging added two Ohio operations in separate moves that will strengthen the firm’s Midwest presence. DazPak, owned by HIG Capital, acquired Atlapac Corp. of Columbus and the Inno-Lok Division of Polymer Packaging in Massillon.

“Polymer’s assets will be merged with Atlapac post-close,” DazPak said. The two flexible packaging companies represent the third and fourth acquisitions for DazPak under HIG ownership since late 2020.

Altium Packaging LLC, already a major player in plastic bottle blow molding, acquired Plastic Industries Inc., a New Hampshire-based company with a network of nine plants across the U.S. Plastics Industries makes both high density polyethylene and PET bottles for a variety of applications, including dairy, juice, water and drinkable yogurt. Along with that purchase, Altium acquired Andersen Plastics near Portland, Ore.

Altium, based in Atlanta, is the former Consolidated Container Corp. In 2021, publicly traded investment firm Loews Corp. sold 47 percent of the firm to GIC Private Ltd., a sovereign wealth fund that manages Singapore’s foreign investments.

Pexco LLC made three second-half acquisitions and now has made 12 since 2018. The firm acquired injection molder Performance Plastics Ltd. of Cincinnati. Performance Plastics, marking its 40th year in business, makes parts for applications in aerospace, defense, medical and life science, and precision industrial. Officials said Performance Plastics is known for working with fluoropolymers, as well as with Torlon-brand polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and Ultem-brand polyetherimide resins.

Earlier, Johns Creek, Ga.-based Pexco acquired fluoropolymer products maker Enflo LLC of Bristol, Conn. Enflo makes a wide range of fluoropolymer shapes. including molded cylinders/tubes and sheets, tape and extruded rods and tubing.

Pexco also purchased Plastic Profiles LLC of Parsippany, N.J. The firm was founded in 1965 and specializes in fluoropolymer rods, tubes and compression molded sheets. The firm’s products are used in semiconductors, aerospace, defense and industrial as well as in valves, gaskets and sealing.

In a news release, Pexco CEO Sam Patel said the acquisition of Plastic Profiles “further expands our capabilities and technical expertise in the world of high-performance polymers.” With estimated sales of $290 million, Pexco is the 20th-largest pipe, profile and tubing producer in North America, according to PN data.

Foam Holdings Inc. made a pair of deals that expands its business in the U.S. and Canada. The firm added Amvic Inc. of Toronto, a maker of expanded polystyrene insulated concrete forms and construction and insulation products. The firm has plants in Toronto and in Scarborough, Calgary. The other purchase is Concrete Block Insulating Systems Inc. of West Brookfield, Mass., a maker of EPS preformed concrete block systems as well as insulated containers.

Foam Holdings, which makes and distributes EPS, expanded polypropylene and Arcel-brand foam products, is owned by private equity firm Wynnchurch Capital LP. Foam Holdings, based in Nashville, Tenn., was created through the merger of four acquisitions: Drew Foam, Huntington Solutions, Insulation Corp. of America and Fabricated Packaging Materials in 2020 and 2021.

PPC Flexible Packaging LLC, a Buffalo Grove, Ill.-based film converter and flexographic printer, purchased a similar company — Plastic Packaging Technologies LLC (PPT) of Kansas City, Kan. — for its ninth deal in five years. PPT employs 425 in manufacturing and distribution facilities in Columbus, Ohio, and Kansas City. PPT opened in the early 1970s and in 2002 was acquired by the Staker brothers: David, who became CEO and president, and Vice President Dan. They will continue with the company.

Kevin Keneally founded PPC in 2017. “We’ve known David and Dan [Staker] for the entire 20 years of their ownership of PPT and have watched them build one of the most respected, technology-driven firms in our industry,” Keneally said in a news release.

Both companies produce pouches and do flexographic printing. Their markets overlap: Both make clean room packaging used in health care and medical applications, as well as a range of pouches and other packaging for consumer snacks, pet food and horticulture markets.

Tank Holding Co., North America’s largest rotational molder, made its 20th deal in the last three years, this time acquiring rotational molder Solar Plastics LLC of Delano, Minn. Solar had been owned by Atek Cos. Inc. of Eden Prairie, Minn.

In a news release, Tank officials in Lincoln, Neb., said the deal includes Solar’s plants in Delano and in Davenport, Iowa, but not a newly opened plant in Monterrey, Mexico.

Solar makes high-volume rotationally molded products for a variety of original equipment manufacturers across multiple industries, including agriculture, construction and recreational. Tank CEO Greg Wade said Solar is “a premier rotational molding company with great people and a great reputation in the industry.”

Brands in Tank’s portfolio include Norwesco, Snyder Industries, Bonar Plastics, Bushman, Chem-tainer, Meese, Stratis Pallets and Dura-Cast. Tank is owned by private equity firm Olympus Partners and its management team.

Prior to the Solar deal, Tank operated 43 manufacturing plants and employed more than 1,800 throughout North America. Tank is, by far, the largest rotomolder in North America, with estimated annual sales of $420 million in 2020, according to PN data.

Harrington Industrial Plastics of Chino, Calif., acquired plastic plumbing products distributor Commercial Industrial Supply (CIS) in partnership with the latter’s owner, Ron Heisler. Harrington said it was in part attracted to CIS, based in Rock Hill, S.C., because of the strong online presence CIS established that has allowed it to exceed the overall market’s growth.

Harrington also purchased fabricator Crist Group in partnership with its owner. Crist Group, based in Woodland, Calif., fabricates fluid process parts and assemblies, focusing on the semiconductor market and others, including medical.

Crist will continue to be run by Paul Crist, who founded the company in 2000 after working as an executive for Harrington in the 1990s. Harrington said the acquisition will increase its offerings to the semiconductor industry, providing fabrication services that complement its existing products.

Harrington is part of Nautic Partners LLC of Providence, R.I., a middle-market private equity firm that focuses on industrials, health care and services.

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