Ascend Performance Materials acquires Britannia Techno Polymer

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Phil McDivitt, president and CEO of Ascend (right) and Andrew Leigh, director of compounding technology at Ascend Performance Materials

Ascend Performance Materials, the largest fully integrated producer of nylon 6,6 resin, has purchased Britannia Techno Polymer (BTP), an engineering plastics compounder based in the Netherlands with whom the company, lacking a European facility of its own, had established a longstanding and close working relationship over the years.

The acquisition will help the Texas-based company to continue to successfully grow its presence in Europe, said Phil McDivitt, president and CEO of Ascend.

“Until now, Ascend has had an exclusively North-American manufacturing footprint, while we are a global business. We can service all parts of the world with our US facilities, but for our special formulation capabilities we wanted to become more regional,” McDivitt told Plastics News Europe in a telephone interview. “We felt – and our customers did as well – that we needed our own manufacturing facility in Europe.”

The acquisition allows Ascend to leverage its strong North-American integration, added Scott Rook, Senior Vice President Nylon at Ascend Performance Materials, and expand its global compounding capacity. BTP is the third compounding facility within Ascend. Founded in 2006 by Andrew Leigh, the company is an engineering thermoplastics compounder specialising in the production of proprietary nylon compounds. Its certifications include ISO 9001 and TS 16949. Another advantage was the company’s location, ‘close to the customer’, as McDivitt pointed out.

“Central Europe is a strong growth region especially in areas such as electronics, connectors and the automotive industry,” he said. “The big German automakers drive a lot of growth, so it is important to have a presence there. Plus, the economy is going to be strong and the market is tight, which also creates demand.”

With no regulatory hurdles to be overcome regarding BTP’s becoming part of Ascend, the acquisition is a straightforward one that is being funded out of Ascend’s operating cash flow. The deal, ‘leveraging the best practices of both companies’ as McDivitt described it, was signed on the afternoon of 31 July.

All BTP’s employees will transition immediately to Ascend. Andrew Leigh will join Ascend’s global management team as director of compounding technology. According to McDivitt, it is a ‘huge opportunity to combine Leigh’s knowledge with Ascend’s capabilities to build a fast-growing engineering plastics business’.

And will this acquisition would be followed by others in Ascend’s quest to expand its European footprint? “We are always looking to see what different pieces fit within Ascend,” said McDivitt. “We are very committed to the nylon 6,6 chain - we have a strong polymers business, as well as being active in the intermediate chemicals. We are continually looking at acquisitions to support the growth of the chemicals area.”

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