TenCate Advanced Composites confirmed to be on the market

TenCate is exploring options for a potential strategic partner to acquire the company as aerospace OEMs begin a more serious assessment of next-generation aircraft materials. A carbon fiber and/or resin manufacturer would be a likely suitor of TenCate.

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Officials at TenCate Advanced Composites (Morgan Hill, CA, US and Nijverdal, The Netherlands) confirmed to CompositesWorld at JEC World 2018 (March 6-8) that TenCate Advanced Composites is exploring options for a potential strategic partner to acquire the company.

TenCate, best known in the composites industry as a prepregger of thermoplastic and thermoset products for composites manufacturing, has strong positions in the aerospace, computer/electronics, consumer, high-performance automotive and industrial end markets.

TenCate’s strong involvement in commercial aerospace, particularly as aircraft OEMs consider increased use of thermoplastic composites in next-generation aircraft, signals that its technology and solutions might be in stronger demand as new aircraft programs develop. One thing TenCate lacks, however, is in-house carbon fiber or thermoplastic resin manufacturing, one or both of which likely will be necessary for any next-generation aircraft structure contract.

Indeed, TenCate officials at JEC World 2018 confirmed that they believe the most likely suitor for the company will be a carbon fiber and/or resin manufacturer. Which manufacturer might step forward to make such an acquisition is not known and not a foregone conclusion, however, there are only a few manufacturers that serve the aerospace industry already and could, conceivably, afford to acquire TenCate: Toray, Hexcel, Teijin, Solvay, Mitsubishi Chemical Carbon Fiber and Composites, and Arkema.

Japan-based Toray is the world’s largest carbon fiber manufacturer and lacks a strong thermoplastics portfolio. US-based Hexcel also lacks a strong thermoplastics product line. Teijin, which is comparable in size to Hexcel in terms of carbon fiber manufacturing capacity, already has a robust thermoplastic product line. And the same can be said about Solvay, which on most lists comes in as the world’s fourth largest carbon fiber manufacturer. Mitsubishi is a major supplier of carbon fiber to the industrial and aerospace markets and also lacks a thermoplastics product line. Arkema, for its part, does not manufacture carbon fiber but is a large supplier of resin systems.

Royal TenCate, the parent of TenCate Advanced Composites, is currently owned by a private equity group led by Gilde Buy Out Partners, which acquired the firm in 2015 for $731 million.