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Development official optimistic about Armacell acquisition

SPENCER — Roane County’s largest manufacturer Armacell was recently acquired by PAI Partners, a global corporation with over 69,000 employees in over 150 countries, according to its Facebook page.

“We just look forward to working with PAI for the continued growth of Armacell,” Mark Whitley, director for the Roane County Development Authority, said.

According to the PAI website, the company has five sectors, including business services, food and consumer, general industries, health care and retail and distribution. PAI Partners was named the best Private Equity Firm in 2019.

“We are a highly active partner seeking to fundamentally transform the businesses we own and create true long-term value. This is rooted in the industrial approach that has historically characterized our investment activity since inception,” the PAI Partners website said.

Armacell has been part of the community for several years, according to Whitley. It is currently a world leader in engineered industrial foams, Whitley said.

It used to be under the name of Monarch Rubber company that produced hockey pucks at one time. Around 10 years ago, Armacell took over.

Previously owned by Blackstone, Armacell underwent a $12 million expansion involving moving operations to the industrial park.

“Armacell currently has the building in downtown Spencer; it wasn’t ideal for the anticipated growth, so they are moving the downtown Spencer operation to our industrial park area and they’ve completed the first phase of that,” Whitley said.

With the expansion, Whitley said it’s common for companies like Blackstone to sell after making improvements.

“Blackstone was looking to sell, which equity firms do; they acquire a company, do some improvements and they sell it,” he said.

A new segment is being developed at Armacell that is hoped to be expanded under the PAI acquisition.

“(They’re) trying to get into industrial insulation for aerospace manufacturers; that’s a new segment for them and that’s what we’re excited about; they may be able to expand their current operation,” Whitley said.

Whitley is hopeful this acquisition will benefit the county.

“You never know what other benefits that kind of exposure will provide. We’re hopeful that other sectors of PAI might become interested in other areas in our county as well,” he said.

Candice Black can be reached at cblack@newsandsentinel.com.

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