In recent years, Handschy Industries, Bellwood, IL, has been part of a number of transitions with its parent companies, beginning with Field Container, Altivity and, most recently, Graphic Packaging. Just recently, Graphic Packaging has sold certain assets and liabilities of Handschy inks, coatings and varnishes business to Sun Chemical for an undisclosed price.
Brian Leen, president of Sun Chemical North American Inks, noted that Sun Chemical acquired Handschy’s intellectual property and customer list, and plans to transition the business into existing Sun Chemical facilities. Handschy’s manufacturing sites are not part of the purchase agreement.
“It’s great that we were able to complete the deal,” Mr. Leen said. “One of the great aspects is that we have excellent product synergies without having to add additional capacity, and we can easily accommodate the volume without investing additional capital. Handschy has some interesting technologies, particularly in energy curing, that will enhance our portfolio, and we are in the process of evaluating all of their technologies.”
Sun Chemical’s relationship with Graphic Packaging played a key role in the acquisition.
“We have a longstanding relationship with Graphic Packaging, who is a very important customer for us,” said Mr. Leen. “We see Graphic Packaging as a strategic customer, and we are excited about continuing our relationship with them.”
While a portion of Handschy’s business was captive, much of the company’s sales came from external customers. Mr. Leen said that Sun Chemical is looking to bring key people from Handschy into the company.
“Handschy presented an ideal opportunity to pick up exciting new business and customers,” Mr. Leen noted. “The people at Handschy built a great business. We see this as an opportunity to enhance the talent in our own organization.”
A person or company can only make a first impression once, and with that in mind, Mr. Leen said that Sun Chemical is putting extra emphasis on working on an individual basis with each of Handschy’s external customers during the transition.
A dedicated transition team has been created with Jim Putney, transition program manager, named to head that team. It is Sun Chemical’s intention to transition all products and customers into existing Sun Chemical facilities over the next three to four months.
“Handschy’s customers are critical to Sun Chemical, and it is our aim to make this transition as seamless as possible, and that’s why we are approaching this transition on an intimate customer by customer basis,” Mr. Leen said. “We are working closely with their external customers to provide services during the transition. We want Handschy’s customers to see this transition as creating value for them.”
The present state of the economy has created more potential for consolidation in both the end-user and ink manufacturing side of the business. Mr. Leen expects more opportunities will come Sun Chemical’s way.
“There is a need for Sun Chemical as the leader in the industry to evaluate these opportunities,” Mr. Leen said. “Further consolidation is likely in our industry, and there will likely be more opportunities going forward.
“Customer demand is down, and it is unsure whether demand will return completely,” Mr. Leen added. “Our end use segments will see further consolidation. For Sun Chemical, any consolidation opportunity must offer the right fit, the right people, the right customer mix and technology. It has to be the right complement to what we do.”
Overall, Mr. Leen believes that the Handschy acquisition, combined with the reorganization that has taken place at Sun Chemical, demonstrates that Sun Chemical is completely committed to the graphic arts marketplace.
“I think we have taken a lot of bold steps, and I am optimistic about our future,” Mr. Leen said. “We are doing all the right things, but of course the economy masks the impact from the good work we’ve done. The economy will eventually stabilize and we’ll see the impacts of these improvements more clearly. Fundamentally, our business is in much better shape than it was one or two years ago, our quality and consistency has improved and we now have put in better management practices, and we have won back some business that we lost.
“What we bring in this ever-changing environment is longevity, reliability and commitment to the business,” Mr. Leen concluded. “Despite the difficult environment, we are committed to being the industry leader, continuing to build our product portfolio and to provide support to our customers through quality, service and innovation.”