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Major Changes Underway at Flexsys

Major changes are underway at Flexsys, which is the world’s leading producer of rubber chemicals, with a 20% market share overall and leading positions in 4-ADPA feedstocks, 6PPD antidegradants and sulfenamide and ultra accelerators. Flexsys was formed in 1995 as a joint venture between Solutia and Akzo Nobel.

On May 2, 2007, Solutia completed its acquisition of Akzo Nobel’s 50% share in the company, making Flexsys a wholly owned subsidiary. Here is the press release on the acquisition. Along with Flexsys, the new Solutia has five primary businesses: Saflex (interlayers for laminated glass); CPFilm (aftermarket window films); Nylon Plastics & Fiber; and Specialty Products.

On November 29, 2007, Solutia’s plan for Chapter 11 reorganization was approved by New York’s Bankruptcy Court. Solutia entered Chapter 11 in December 2003 due to costs associated with asbestos and PCB litigation, as well as legacy costs dating back to its spinoff from Monsanto. The company expects the reorganization to become effective in late December or January. Here is the press release on the reorganization plan.

Since the acquisition, Solutia has replaced much of the management at Flexsys. James Voss was named as president of Flexsys effective May 2, 2007. He is also a senior VP for Solutia. His bio is here, and the press release is here. Mr. Voss has served as Solutia’s senior VP – business operations since 2005; he came over to Solutia from Premcor, an oil refiner, where he was a senior VP and chief administrative officer. Mr. Voss succeeds Enrique Bolaños, who ran Flexsys for the last eight years. He reports to Jeff Quinn, Solutia’s president and CEO.

On October 3, 2007, Solutia named Ray Kollar as Vice President, Commercial Services, where he has global responsibility for Flexsys’ sales, marketing, technical and customer service functions. Mr. Kollar succeeds William Woodyard, who had been with Flexsys since its creation. Mr. Kollar came to Flexsys from Intel Corporation, where he worked for 20 years, primarily in senior marketing-related positions. The press release is here.

As part of the integration of Flexsys into Solutia, redundant staff were also eliminated, including positions in HR, finance, accounting, and general counsel. Notch Consulting has learned that existing sales managers will remain in place for the most part.

On July 19, 2007, Flexsys completed the acquisition of the rubber chemicals business of Chemetall GmbH (Frankfurt). The deal was initiated prior to Solutia’s acquisition of Flexsys. The acquired business produces accelerators, primarily dithiocarbamates and other ultras. Terms were not disclosed. Notch Consulting estimates that Chemetall’s rubber chemicals business generates about $40 million in annual revenues.

Finally, the integration will involve the consolidation of facilities. Flexsys’ US headquarters has been moved from Flexsys America’s prior offices in Akron, Ohio to Solutia’s offices in St. Louis. The Akron office will remain open as a research and sales office. The move is mostly complete and will be wrapped up by year-end. The European offices of Flexsys NV in Brussels, Belgium will be completely integrated into Solutia LLN’s existing offices in Louvain-La-Neuve (near Brussels), Belgium. This should be complete by the end of Q1 2008.

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