Japan’s Kuraray acqires Merrillville’s MonoSol

By Rick A. Richards

MERRILLVILLE – A special Kagamiwari ceremony symbolized the completion of five months of negotiations that led to the acquisition of Merrillville’s MonoSol and Kuraray Co. of Japan.

The ceremony is one of good wishes for the future in which a cask of sake is broken open and the contents shared with everyone present. Kuraray CEO Fumio Ito explained that the ceremony take place in Japan to recognize births and family milestones as well as business transactions and partnerships.

Before the Kagamiwari ceremony last Thursday, Kuraray Co. Ltd and MonoSol LLC announced that the two companies had reached an agreement for Kuraray to acquire MonoSol, a market-leading manufacturer of water-soluable polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) films.

The acquisition by Kuraray supports its strategy to expand its Vinyl Acetate Chemical Chain Business. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“MonoSol has grown from a seedling to sapling and now is this wonderful tree,” said P. Scott Bening, president and CEO of MonoSol. “We’ve had 25 years of incredible growth. Today, officially MonoSol’s tree becomes a part of the Kuraray forest.”

Bening said MonoSol and Kuraray are the world’s leaders in on PVA technology, adding that the two companies have worked together for more than 25 years.

“Kuraray is the only company in the world that truly understands our business,” said Bening.

The two companies only began serious acquisition discussions five months ago. Bening said the deal was put together incredibly fast considering it involves two global companies.

Through this acquisition, Kuraray will expand its product offering of PVA films into a wider range of industrial applications, thereby enhancing its competitiveness. Kuraray currently supplies “POVAL” PVA film for optical uses, including a polarizing film, which is an essential component of liquid crystal displays.

“This merger will allow MonoSol to continue to grow and service its customer base while providing additional R&D resources – capitalizing on the expertise of both groups. Utilizing the Kuraray Acetyl Products expertise will allow MonoSol to reach our product development goals faster and more efficiently. We are very excited about this combination and look forward to our future with Kuraray,” said Bening.

Also speaking at the ceremony was Portage Mayor Jim Snyder. “We’re excited as a city to have MonoSol and Kuraray as a part of our city.”

LaPorte Mayor Blair Milo echoed the praise. “This shows that what helps one community in our region helps the entire region.”

The transaction is subject to approvals by the appropriate regulatory authorities. The business will be operated as an independent company under Kuraray Holdings U.S.A. Inc. and all employees will be transferred to the new company.

Kuraray was established in 1926. In 1950, the company achieved a corporate milestone as the first in the world to bring polyvinyl alcohol synthetic fiber to market. In subsequent years, Kuraray used its proprietary technology in the area of polymer chemistry and synthetic chemistry to develop resins, chemicals, fibers and textiles and others.

Kuraray has overseas subsidiaries in 17 countries and regions outside Japan, as a global specialty chemical company.

Since 1953, MonoSol has been a leader in specialty water-soluable polymer-based films. MonoSol offers a wide range of water-soluable delivery systems for unit-dose applications for consumer, agricultural chemicals and industrial products, release films, transfer printing, embroidery support films, water-soluable laundry bags, edible films and TerraLOC, a unique dust abatement system.

MonoSol maintains a global network of dedicated partners to offer sales, service and technical support to its worldwide customer base. Certified ISO 9001:2000, MonoSol maintains the highest quality standards. Headquarters are best in Merrillville with manufacturing facilities in Portage and LaPorte, and Hartlebury, England.

 

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