Milacron Exits Chapter 11


Milacron has emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy, following the completed purchase of the company by a group of existing investors. Milacrons Cimcool industrial fluids segment supplies metalworking and industrial fluids.

On June 26, a bankruptcy court in Cincinnati approved the sale of Milacron Inc.s assets to the group for an estimated $175 million. The company had been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since March.

The new, privately held Milacron LLC is owned by a group led by New York-based Avenue Capital Group and Waltham, Mass.-headquartered DDJ Capital Management LLC. Dennis Smith heads Milacron LLC as president and chief executive officer. The new capital structure, combined with the cost savings of operating as a private entity, gives the company considerable financial strength, Smith said.

The companys larger business supplies plastics-processing technologies. Under Milacron LLCs business unit structure, Cimcool includes metalworking fluids technology and customer services. Bob McKee, who was president of global industrial fluids at Milacron Inc., is president of Cimcool.

McKee noted that the overall company shed $500 million of debt. Now we dont have that hanging over us, which makes us a lot more agile and a lot more aggressive in the marketplace, McKee told Lube Report. It allows us to do a lot more things because we didnt have really the financial wherewithal to do that before.

He acknowledged that the metalworking fluids segment faces additional market challenges now compared to March this year. In the first quarter, the global economic downtown was hitting key metalworking fluids industry customers such as automotive and general industries especially hard – and continues to do so – though crude oil prices were relatively low.

[Crude] oil has rebounded from where it was at that stage – it got down to $40s per barrel, now its approaching $80 per barrel, he noted. That certainly has an effect on our cost, on raw materials, on the overall profitability of the division, but we seem to have been able to manage our way through that pretty well so far this year.

McKee credited customers with remaining supportive throughout the bankruptcy reorganization process. I dont think weve lost a single customer through the process, he noted. And the other thing is our vendors have been very supportive throughout this time period – weve never missed a shipment through these trying times. We continue to service our customers like we always have. We tried to make this whole process as invisible to our end users, customers and distributors as possible.

Global business remains important to the company. Even as we were going through financial problems early in the year, we did open a plant in Shanghai, China, and we have a plant in South Korea, he continued. We have blending partners in Turkey and India, and we have a plant in The Netherlands. So even with the financial condition of the company, weve found a way to expand our international operations considerably over the last five to six years, and we plan to continue to do that.

Research and development will remain crucial to Cimcools business. We tend to spend a high percentage of our annual budget on research and development, and we havent backed off of that even in these difficult times, McKee explained. Thirty percent of our sales is from new products that have been around less than five years, and its a consistent key in the performance of our division. At this particular point in time, it strengthens our positions with our customers by coming out with a variety of new products and a variety of new high technology products.

McKee expressed optimism about Cimcools future under the new ownership. Its certainly nice to be out from under Chapter 11 with owners that are supportive of the business, and want to really grow the business, he continued. I think the new owners want to make each of the business units more autonomous and more responsible for their own performance, which is a fantastic opportunity for us because weve always been a good performing division within the company.

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