Cytec Industries finalizes acquisition of Umeco

U.S.-based carbon fiber and prepreg manufacturer Cytec Industries Inc. has completed its purchase of U.K.-based composites and engineering specialist Umeco Plc in a deal worth about $439 million.

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On July 20, Cytec Industries Inc. (Woodland Park, N.J.) announced the completion of its acquisition of Umeco Plc (Heanor, Derbyshire, U.K.). The acquisition, valued at $439 million (USD), supports Cytec’s twofold growth strategy: to strengthen its technology leadership in advanced composites and to expand the company’s presence outside the aerospace industry, specifically in automotive applications.

“We are excited about the completion of this transaction and welcome Umeco employees to the global Cytec team,” says Shane Fleming, Cytec’s chairman, president and CEO. “We are confident the acquisition strengthens our position as a leading manufacturer of advanced composite materials and offers significant opportunities for growth and value creation. We are all committed to a successful integration of our businesses.”

Although postacquisition Umeco will operate separately for the balance of 2012, on Jan. 1, 2013, Cytec Engineered Materials (Tempe, Ariz.) and Umeco will be reconfigured into two new segments, one for aerospace materials and the other for industrial materials.

During the acquisition, Umeco gathered no dust. Company execs rebranded and refocused Umeco holdings and their product offerings. Well-known subsidiary business units Advanced Composites Group (ACG, Heanor, U.K. and Tulsa, Okla.), GRPMS (Fareham, Hampshire, U.K.), JD Lincoln (Costa Mesa, Calif.) and Richmond Aerovac (Sandbeds, Keighley, West Yorkshire, U.K.) were rebranded under the Umeco name.

Rebranding came on the heels of the former ACG’s lead role in the multipartner, U.K.-based FibreCycle project, which developed materials based on carbon fibers recovered from waste streams. The project received recognition at the JEC Innovations Award Program in 2012. FibreCycle was a £1.5 million ($2.3 million), four-year research initiative partially funded by the U.K. government’s Technology Strategy Board. The aim was to successfully demonstrate groundbreaking technology that can recover carbon fibers. The project showed that high-value products based on recovered or recycled carbon fibers have commercial potential. Umeco/ACG was joined by five U.K.-based partners: Sigmatex (Runcorn, Cheshire), Tilsatec Ltd. (West Yorkshire), Exel Composites Plc (Runcorn), NetComposites (Chesterfield,) and the University of Leeds. Umeco also says it is developing an automated system for high-volume production of automotive structures. The system cuts and kits carbon fiber/epoxy prepregs, then transfers them to a preforming tool and, finally, loads preforms in a compression molding machine for processing. The system can handle all types of prepreg but is focused on using Umeco’s Dform products. Ultimately, Umeco will develop and market a range of prepregs that will snap-cure in three to four minutes in a press-forming process, well within reach of automotive production volume requirements.