Franklin color company bought for $15M

Ohio-based buyer closed Grassmere facility two years ago

A global plastics manufacturer based in Ohio has paid more than $15 million for Franklin-headquartered Prime Colorants, which less than four years ago emerged from bankruptcy protection.

A. Schulman Inc. is familiar with Middle Tennessee — it ran a plant in Grassmere until early 2012 — and with Prime, which has been a supplier for many years. Prime, which makes custom colors and additive concentrates for the automotive and construction sectors, rang up 2013 revenues of about $12 million and is home to about 50 people.

"Color remains an area of opportunity for us in the United States, and the acquisition of Prime will enable us to serve customers better by offering color expertise in an area of the country where we were not previously located," said Schulman Chairman, President and CEO Joseph Gingo. "Additionally, this added capacity will complement our recent acquisition of the Perrite Group which brought us additional color capabilities in Malaysia, as well as our acquisition of Network Polymers which added to our niche business in the United States."

Prime was founded 38 years ago but ran into trouble in 2009 when a former shareholder filed an unsecured claim for $800,000, forcing the company to file for Chapter 11. That process was resolved in early 2010 and the company, which then had about $10 million in revenues, soon after invested heavily to expand its operations and workforce.

Schulman (Ticker: SHLM), which runs more than 30 manufacturing plants around the world, has a market value of about $1 billion. The company posted a fiscal first-quarter profit of $15.1 million on revenues of $585 million.