Founder buys back Ficel blowing agent business
Posted April 22, 2009

ACWORTH, GA. (April 22, 2:15 p.m. ET) -- Nine years after selling it, John Hughes has re-purchased the polymer additive business he founded in 1986.

“I guess I’ve come full circle,” Hughes said in an April 21 phone interview from his office in Acworth, Ga.
Hughes earlier this year repurchased the Ficel-brand chemical blowing agent product line from Lanxess Corp. of Pittsburgh. He had sold the business — then known as Hughes Industrial Corp. — in 2000 to Lanxess predecessor Bayer Corp. Hughes remained with the business during the nine years it was owned by Bayer/Lanxess.
Ficel is a chemical blowing and foaming agent most often used in PVC and polyolefins. The material provides weight reduction and other structural property enhancements mainly for pipe, profiles and sheet used in construction applications, Hughes said.

The deal gives Hughes’ new business — now known as Hughes Polymer Additives — rights to the Ficel trade name in the U.S. and Canada. The purchase also includes product formulations, customer lists and a small amount of inventory, but doesn’t include any machinery, real estate or other physical assets.
Ficel is produced by a number of toll manufacturers, Hughes said. The material is distributed in the U.S. by Karmax Plastics of Piperville, Pa.; AdSpec Inc. of Loganville, Ga.; and M.F. Cachat Co. of Lakewood, Ohio. In Canada, Ficel is distributed by Matexion Inc. of Cambridge, Ontario.

The sale of Ficel “reflects Lanxess’s overall sustainable business strategy of strengthening core businesses to position the company on a platform for growth,” Lanxess functional chemicals business head Rob Trozenski said in a news release.
“Hughes Polymer Additives has the years of experience and expertise to further impact the future growth and success of this business, so this is a positive situation for all parties,” Trozenski said.