Envision buyer bets on growth in recycled plastics market

Envision buyer bets on growth in recycled plastics market

By Dan Leif, Plastics Recycling Update

June 20, 2014

The company that purchased a pair of plastics recycling firms this week says its move was driven by increasing demand for recycled content in the packaging space.

Atlanta-based Consolidated Containers Company (CCC) announced Tuesday it had acquired Envision Plastics and Ecoplast Corporation, separate recycling companies that had common ownership. Both firms have a significant presence in the plastics recycling sector — Envision in post-consumer HDPE and Ecoplast in a variety of post-industrial resins — and according to a leader at CCC, the packaging giant made the deal because more of its clients are looking to boost their use of recycled material.

"CCC views sustainability and recycling as a megatrend in our industry that will only increase with time," said CCC's chief financial officer, Richard Sehring, in comments to Plastics Recycling Update. "Customers, consumers and retailers are all looking for greater recycled content in products, and this strategic investment allows CCC to increase access to such products."

CCC supplies rigid plastic packaging for a wide variety of clients, and according to its website, the company leverages more than 50 manufacturing facilities worldwide. CCC manufactures products used in industries including dairy, bottled water, household chemical, automotive and food and beverage. The company is owned by noted investment firm Bain Capital.

Sehring said the former owners of Envision and Ecoplast, Massoud Rad and Parham Yedidsion, last year had begun working to shop the firms to interested buyers, and CCC/Bain started considering the purchase in December.

The executive said CCC was a customer of both firms in the past, and the strategy going forward will be to maintain the status quo on the operations front. "Both Envision and Ecoplast will continue to operate as they have historically as Envision and Ecoplast," said Sehring. " We want to ensure that Envision and Ecoplast retain the confidence and trust of their current customers and that potential customers are comfortable with the talented staff at [the two firms]."

Sehring, who would not disclose the terms of the deal, added that CCC sees opportunities to "accelerate" a number of patented technologies that have been developed by Envision and Ecoplast. Among those properties, according to Sehring, are Envision's "Prisma" colorant process and the food-grade HDPE offering EcoPrime.

Considering the recent shakeups in global movements of recycled plastic, some industry members may be wondering if Bain and CCC made this week's acquisition to signal a commitment to domestic recyclables processing as China's Green Fence policy continues to create ripples.

But Sehring said trends in the international scrap plastics market were "not a factor in the decision" to make the deal. In fact, he said, he and his team had not heard of Green Fence until Envision and Ecoplast leaders brought it up in passing during negotiations

According to the press release issued to announce the deal, Envision and Ecoplast will operate as a standalone business and will be led by Scott Booth, who has been chief operating officer at Envision. He will now report to CCC CEO Sean Fallmann.

Envision operates out of two facilities: one in Reidsville, North Carolina and the second in Chino, California. Ecoplast is based in Fontana, California.

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