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Film companies in Martinsville to merge

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli
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Photo courtesy Eastman Chemical Co.

Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman Chemical Co. is expanding its footprint in Martinsville. The Fortune 500 company announced plans earlier this year to acquire Martinsville-based Commonwealth Laminating & Coating (CLC), a move that will help Eastman expand its reach in the performance-film industry. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second half of 2014. It will include CLC’s manufacturing and distribution facilities in Martinsville plus nine sales distribution centers.

Eastman has been in Martinsville since 2012 when it acquired Solutia, a specialty chemical company. After the merger with CLC, Eastman expects to keep most of that company’s employees, says Eastman spokesman Brad Belote.  “As we get to know CLC’s employees, we will evolve organizations to best meet the needs of the business and best leverage the experience and capabilities of the employees,” he said in an email. As of April, Eastman employed 500 people in the Martinsville area; CLC had 170. 

“We believe that this merger will benefit CLC’s employees and customers. We have come to know that Eastman values the SunTek brand (CLC’s films 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,” Steve Phillips, CLC’s president and CEO, said in a statement at the time of the announcement. According to an Eastman representative, Phillips had agreed to help it through the transition.

“Steve will continue to be involved post-close of the deal, and we are working on those details kind of as we speak,” says Travis Smith, vice president and general manager of Eastman’s performance film business.

CLC makes, sells and distributes window and specialty films for automotive, architectural and protective applications. The company, founded in 1995, had sales of about $100 million last year.

Smith says CLC’s products complement his company’s performance window film offerings.

“One of the things about the industry overall, particularly here in North America, is that the category itself has a lot of opportunity for growth because many people simply aren’t familiar with the features, benefits and value that window films can provide either for automotive applications or architectural applications as well.”

Window films’ applications include heat and glare reduction, privacy, UV filtration and thermal insulation. Eastman and CLC also are in the paint protection films business. These films can be applied to the paintable part of a vehicle and help eliminate chips and cracks. 

Eastman, CLC, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC) and New College Institute also recently launched the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing. Starting this fall, the center will offer a 28-credit advanced technology films certificate program through PHCC. Smith says that while the program will focus on film manufacturing, the skills taught will be applicable to advanced manufacturing in general.


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