In The News: January 2009

Lucite Sold To Japanese Firm

Mitsubishi Rayon, a Japanese maker of synthetic fibers and other chemicals, said in a press release it has agreed with Lucite International's top shareholder Charterhouse Capital Partners to buy all shares of the British chemicals firm for $1.6 billion in cash.

Lucite is the world's top maker of methyl methacrylate (MMA) monomers, a basic material used in the production of acrylic resins, which are used to make a wide range of products including acrylic sheet for portable hot tub manufacturing.

Mitsubishi Rayon said the acquisition would give the company production bases in the United States and Europe, allowing it to accelerate its expansion into emerging markets such as Russia and South America.

Mitsubishi Rayon said it would complete its acquisition of Lucite shares from Charterhouse Capital, which has an 81.6 percent stake, and other shareholders in January 2009, subject to regulatory approval.

The firm said it would finance the deal through a loan from Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and it would also seek partners who want to invest in Lucite. Mitsubishi Rayon plans to keep a majority stake.

Hayward Acquires Cat Controllers

Hayward Industries, Elizabeth, N.J., announced the acquisition of Cat Controllers, a manufacturer of automatic water-quality management systems for residential and commercial swimming pools, spas, water parks and other water treatment applications.

"The market for automatic water-quality management systems and web-based, remote-monitoring technology is a rapidly emerging segment of the market both in residential and commercial water applications," said Larry Silber, Hayward's COO. "CAT's products are both highly complementary to our current Goldline Controls range of pool/spa controls and sanitizers and will also be a springboard for Hayward to further grow its presence in the commercial market space."

Under the ownership of Patrick Sweeney and Culin Tate, CAT Controllers began manufacturing and marketing chemical controllers and wireless, web-based management systems more than 10 years ago. According to Silber, both Patrick and Culin will join Hayward in key management roles to ensure continuity of service to existing customers and to help expand Hayward's market presence.

Compass Minerals Launches Pristiva

Compass Minerals announced that it has formed Pristiva, a subsidiary focused on the salt chorine pool market. Pristiva products will be sold exclusively through professional trade channels.

Angelo Brisimitzakis, Compass Minerals' president and CEO said, "Salt [chlorine] pools are the fastest growing sector of the residential pool market, and this new subsidiary, specifically focused on meeting the needs of the salt water pool segment, will give us a strong position in this attractive market."

Pristiva's general manager is 21-year industry veteran Bob Harper.

Arch To Sell SeaKlear PRS

SeaKlear Water Treatment Products, Bothell, Wa., announced it has reached an agreement with Arch Chemicals to sell the SeaKlear PRS enhanced filtration product under the Pulsar brand in the commercial aquatic marketplace.

Under this co-branding agreement Arch will market and sell the 5- and 55-gallon sizes of SeaKlear PRS to commercial aquatic facilities. SeaKlear will continue to sell and market its PRS product to residential customers and smaller commercial pools in the quart and one-gallon sizes. SeaKlear PRS will also be sold to the spa market under the SeaKlear Spa brand.

SeaKlear's PRS is an EPA-reviewed product for trapping Cryptosporidium. The product has been tested to the NSF 60 drinking water certification that now allows the product to be used in all states that require NSF 60 certification in public aquatic facilities.

Balboa Parts With ECOmatic

Balboa Water Group, Tustin, Calif., announced it will cease distribution of ECOmatic products. Bob Spillar, Balboa's vice president of marketing said, "This enables us to concentrate more fully on growth in our core global jetted bath and hot tub equipment business."

Davey Water Products, the owner of ECOmatic manufacturer Monarch Pool Systems, announced that ECOmatic will be distributed by TMI Salt Pure Corporation in North America and that the standard factory warranty will be honored by Davey in conjunction with TMI Salt Pure Corporation.

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