Technological watch

Benvic enters US market with deal for materials maker Chemres

French compounder Benvic Group has made its first U.S. acquisition, buying Princeton, N.J.-based materials firm Chemres LLC for an undisclosed price.

Chemres operates a plant in Chesapeake, Va., making compounds for several markets, including medical, packaging and wire and cable. In an Aug. 5 news release, officials with Benvic in Chevigny-Saint-Sauveu, France, said that Chemres has "a strong position" in the U.S. contact lens market and has long-term customer relationships.

Officials said that the Chemres acquisition will allow Benvic to enter the U.S. market and strengthen its exposure to the medical sector, allowing the firm to become a key global supplier in that market.

"Like Benvic, Chemres is a top performer in the compounding industry, out performing competitors in growth, quality and client satisfaction," Benvic CEO Luc Mertens said in the release. "We look forward to work closely with the management team of Chemres … to expand our operations in North America and grow our polymer expertise across sectors and in particular in the medical sector. … This acquisition is an important step forward in Benvic becoming a global leader in compounding."

Chemres CEO Paul Keimig said in the release that Benvic's "proven success" in similar markets and desire to use Chemres to grow its portfolio in the U.S. market "was key in our decision-making process."

"With Benvic's vision to be the global leader, Chemres will accelerate its growth through organic and additional compounding acquisitions in the U.S. market," he added.

Keimig founded Chemres in 1995. The firm began operations at a former Nova Chemicals site in Chesapeake in 2008. In 2018, Chemres spent $3 million to increase twin-screw compounding capacity there to more than 80 million pounds per year. The Chesapeake site also has 100 million pounds of annual capacity for blending and other services. Chemres employed 40 in 2018, when it had annual sales of $75 million.

The Chemres deal is the ninth add-on acquisition for Benvic since it joined the portfolio of Italian investment firm Investindustrial in 2018. Five of the nine acquisitions have been in Italy.

In 2019, Benvic acquired Modenplast Medical, an Italian compounder specializing in medical grade PVC compounds and tubing extrusion. In 2020, Benvic bought Luc & Bel, an Italian manufacturer which specializes in medical device components. Earlier this year, Benvic bought polypropylene and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) compounding assets in Ferrara, Italy, from Celanese Corp. of Dallas.

Founded in 1963, Benvic's first deal was for PVC recycler VinyLoop. Other Benvic deals include biopolymers maker Plantura, Alfa PVC of Poland, Ereplast of France, and Dugdale Ltd. of the United Kingdom.

Publication date: 10/08/2021

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This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837761.