PPG is on the acquisition hunt

By Tim Wright | July 26, 2007

The trend toward consolidation in the paint and coatings industry has been occurring steadily over the past several decades as the number of mergers and acquisitions has increased. Thirty years ago there were approximately 2,000 paint and coatings companies in the U.S. Twenty years ago there were 1,600, ten years ago 1,200 and five years ago 970. Today there are approximately 850 paint companies in the U.S.

Around the world there are approximately 4,500 paint and coatings companies. Out of all the domestic and international companies combined, just 10% produce 85% of the total coatings volume.

So why all this acquisition talk? Well, the paint and coatings industry looks to be consolidating even further.

PPG, the third largest coatings manufacturer in the world, is looking to grow even bigger, with several acquisition announcements as this issue went to press. Pittsburgh-based PPG first announced its acquisition of Barloworld Coatings Australia, a leading architectural and decorative paint manufacturer. The purchase of Barloworld Coatings Australia will make PPG the largest coatings manufacturer in Australia (see page 8 for more details).

More significantly, PPG then offered $3 billion for Dutch paint and coatings producer, SigmaKalon Group, acquired four years ago by investment firm Bain Capital. The acquisition would substantially expand PPG's global coatings portfolio, particularly in Europe and Asia, and offer new avenues for growth.

In a statement released to the press, Charles E. Bunch, PPG's chairman and CEO said the acquisition would give PPG "an excellent footprint in the European architectural coatings segment" where today the company does not have a large presence.

The acquisition would make PPG one of the top coatings producers in Europe, approximately doubling its European sales, and expanding its global coatings portfolio by more than 40%, according to Bunch.

PPG would also significantly increase its participation in higher growth markets, such as Southern and Central Europe, Africa and Asia. In addition, PPG's presence in protective and marine coatings would also grow substantially, spurred by several other recent acquisitions.

It will be interesting to see how this acquisition offer develops in the weeks ahead and if accepted and approved, the effect it will have on industry.

Tim Wright

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