With new leadership, Minnesota Rubber & Plastics is setting the foundation for long-term success following its acquisition by Norwest Equity Partners.
Quadion L.L.C., which does business as Minnesota Rubber & Plastics, appointed Marlin Braun as its CEO in January, succeeding Jim Lande, who retired from Quadion after serving as CEO since 1985.
Prior to joining the firm, Braun worked at Greene, Tweed Co., VEECO Instruments Inc. and Perkin Elmer Inc.
New Focus on Four Core Markets
Braun, with the support of Norwest Equity Partners, is bringing a new focus for the firm that is turning 70 in 2015. Historically, Minnesota Rubber & Plastics has been highly diversified and very opportunistic-driven, taking on different applications in a variety of markets. The firm is now narrowing that focus to four core markets: transportation; water; medical & pharma; and power.
Braun said that each market involves solving critical-to-function problems in highly demanding environments involving chemical attack, temperature, friction and wear. “We’re still diversified, but we’re diversified across four primary market segments. It’s a much more focused effort, and we’re aligning our entire organization with those four markets,” Braun said.
Braun estimated between 60 and 70 percent of Minnesota Rubber & Plastics focuses on rubber, but many products that it produces are a combination of rubber and plastic materials. The firm works with fluoroelastomers, HBR, HNBR, liquid silicone rubber, high consistency silicone rubber and high-end plastics.
“We invest heavily in high performance materials,” he said. “We have a very strong material science capability that we’re continuing to invest in, grow and strengthen. Material science is a key part of who we are and will always be a part of who we are moving forward.”
The company has facilities in the U.S., Mexico, Europe and China. Braun said the firm will continue to invest in each region with customer requirements aligned.
The firm broke ground on an expansion to its Mexican facility in July with a target completion date by the end of 2014. This $5 million investment by Minnesota Rubber & Plastics includes facilities, equipment and additional capabilities.
“A lot of automotive expansion is occurring in Mexico,” he said. “A lot of our customers are relocating manufacturing facilities there and are looking for us to have a presence.”
Switching from Foundation Building to Acquiring Complimentary Companies
The immediate goal of Minnesota R&P is to align the company with its four core vertical markets. But once that is accomplished, Braun said the firm will switch into offense, targeting complementary acquisitions that strengthen its focus.
“We anticipate being active with acquisitions that align with our strategy as we move into 2015,” Braun said. “This year has been all about this strategic alignment and getting the foundation in place to be able to integrate acquisitions into the foundation.”
Braun said the firm will explore multiple paths on the acquisition front. The first is to target companies with similar capabilities. The second is technology related, looking at firms with unique capabilities either in material technologies or dealing with materials Minnesota R&P currently does not focus on.
The company wants to break into the oil and gas market and will target firms that allow it to do so rapidly.
Financial Resources Back Acquisition Initiative
Braun said the major reason Minnesota R&P is positioned to be active on the acquisition front is its owner, Norwest Equity Partners. NEP’s instructional limited partner is Wells Fargo, which will provide Minnesota Rubber & Plastics the capital resources it needs to pursue acquisitions that will strengthen its position in the market.
“We’re going to be very opportunistic, very supportive of this company,” said Andy Cantwell, principal at Norwest Equity Partners – and a member of Quadion’s board. “Our goal with our businesses is to grow them into great companies. We take a long-term view with our investments, and there is no difference here. We want to do the right things that are in the best long-term interest of the business. If you take care of the business, it will take care of you.”
Minnesota Rubber & Plastics
Filed Under: TECHNOLOGIES + PRODUCTS, Materials • advanced