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Eastman to acquire area firm
Commonwealth Laminating announces agreement
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Friday, March 14, 2014

Eastman Chemical Co., which has a plant in Fieldale, plans to acquire Martinsville-based Commonwealth Laminating & Coating Inc., Commonwealth announced Thursday.

Commonwealth, which produces performance films and other products, has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by Eastman, it said in a news release. Further information about the agreement was not disclosed.

When the acquisition is complete, which is expected to be in the second half of this year, Eastman will employ 700 people locally, according to information provided by the companies.

Founded in 1995, Commonwealth has operations in 10 locations in six countries around the world, the release said. Its headquarters and sole manufacturing facility at the Patriot Centre industrial park employs about 200 people.

Eastman has about 500 employees locally, the release said. It came to Henry County in 2012 when it bought Solutia Performance Films.

Officials with both Commonwealth and Eastman praised the agreement, which the release described as a “strong, strategic fit.”

“There’s no change in either of the businesses right now. The biggest thing we can say is we feel this is a positive for our business, a positive for our employees and, more importantly, we think it’s a big positive for the community,” said Richard Hall, founding board member and director of Commonwealth Laminating.

Commonwealth brings to Eastman an experienced work force, a complementary brand and product portfolio, and a broad geographic footprint, the release stated.

“We believe that this merger will benefit (Commonwealth Laminating’s) employees and customers,” said Commonwealth President and CEO Steve Phillips. “We have come to know that Eastman values (Commonwealth’s) SunTek brand, the experience and dedication of our global workforce, our innovative products and technology, and our diverse and loyal customer base. We feel confident that Eastman is the right partner for us.”

Commonwealth “is confident in Eastman’s shared commitment to serving and growing the window and protective film markets, innovation through product and process development, and superior customer service and support,” the release said.

At its manufacturing facility in the Patriot Centre, Commonwealth employees produce solar control window films and precision, high-performance coatings on flexible film substrates and laminates, according to the release.

Commonwealth offers solutions for the renewable energy products industry through its products, all of which are made at the Martinsville facility on the industry’s newest and most advanced manufacturing equipment, according to the release. Also, the company’s technical and responsive team is focused on developing cutting-edge and innovative technology to meet the evolving needs of the industry.

Headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., Eastman is a global specialty chemical company that produces a broad range of products. With a total of 14,000 employees, Eastman’s revenues were approximately $9.4 billion last year.

“This is a growing market,” Mark Heath, president and CEO of the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp., said of performance films on Thursday after the acquisition was announced. “The combining of these two strong companies, and the additional production, will only make them that much stronger.”

The acquisition will include Commonwealth’s manufacturing facility and master distribution center in Martinsville, and nine sales distribution centers. It is subject to required regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Following the completion of the transaction, Commonwealth will become part of Eastman’s Advanced Materials segment.

Eastman officials could not be reached for comment Thursday afternoon.


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