US company buys business as springboard into Europe

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Plastique, a packaging company with its headquarters in Tunbridge Wells, has been acquired by an American group for an undisclosed sum.

The company, based in Decimus Park, Kingstanding Way, will become part of Illinois-based Thermoform Engineered Quality (TEQ), a subsidi-ary of NYSE listed ESCO Technologies.

Plastique, which also has an office in Nottingham and a factory in Poznan, Poland, employs 180 people across all three sites.

The company designs and manufactures plastic packaging for cosmetics, toiletries, pharmaceuticals, food and electronics – such as mobile phones – and their clients include Philips, 3M, Gillette, Lancome and L’Oreal.

Its turnover is estimated at between £20 and £30million.

A spokesman for the company was unable to comment on whether the acquisition will mean redundancies for any of its staff, but said the tone of the announcement was ‘very positive’.

John Lowe, Plastique’s managing director, said: “Combining with TEQ provides the group with significant opportunities to accelerate growth of our existing portfolio of business and allows us to expand into a broader platform of new product development areas.

“The similarities within the two operations are extensive and having the chance to jointly develop new market opportunities across the globe is extremely exciting.”

Plastique was established 35 years ago and became the first European manufacturer of smooth surfaced thermoformed pulp packaging. The acquisition is seen by its American parent company as an opportunity to expand its customer base into Europe.

Vic Richey, chairman and CEO of ESCO, said: “I’m excited about the future growth prospects at TEQ as we continue to see meaningful and tangible shareholder value creation in this area.

“With the addition of Fremont Plastics and Plastique, both acquired at reasonable prices, we now have a technical packaging solutions business approaching $100million in annual revenues, with above industry-average profit margins.

“We now have a solid foothold in Europe and have added a new completementary technical packaging solution.

We are confident in our ability to exploit our scale and our expanded geographic footprint to accelerate growth in both sales and profitability.”

Plastique is a market leader in the development and manufacture of highly-technical thermoformed plastic and precision moulded pulp fibre packaging.

The acquisition of Plastique better positions TEQ for significant, profitable growth by providing immediate access to new customers and new territories in both Europe and North America for both its existing thermoformed packaging solutions as well as its new pulp fibre packaging capabilities.

Plastique also expands TEQ’s growth opportunities within its existing medical device and pharmaceutical customers.

Pulp fibre is credited in the industry for being more environmentally friendly than other types of packaging.

A spokesman for TEQ said: “Using compression moulding and dry technology also produces a superior quality with enhanced precision compared to traditional pulp packaging.”

ESCO, headquartered in St Louis, provides engineered filtration products to the aviation, space and process markets worldwide and is the industry leader in electromagnetic shielding and electromagnetic compatibility test products.

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