imageSeptember 21, 2020

RPM’s Evolving Acquisition Strategy

The recent acquisition of Ali Industries, LLC, with its Gator brand of sandpaper and other abrasives, is just another example of RPM’s evolution while still maintaining our long-held tradition of adding leading brands. It’s a fantastic addition for us and we hope it reminds everyone that, even in the middle of a pandemic, we’re still executing all of our strategies—including growth through acquisition. That’s always been core to RPM. It’s been in our DNA, and it continues to be.

This acquisition reaffirms that our strategy for adding companies and products to the portfolio is adapting. Whereas previous decisions might have been made based on a more strict set of criteria, our view on acquisition opportunities has broadened.

We’re regularly evaluating what we think might be a great fit for us, which has opened the door to more possibilities, especially in the last couple of years. Ali is a great example of a willingness to look at adjacencies.

Ali is a market-leading innovator of finishing solutions for power sanding, floor sanding and hand sanding – which are in different, but related, categories than RPM’s traditional paint and coating products.

We remain consistent in our approach that has been responsible for us getting to $5.5 billion in revenue today by looking for entrepreneurial businesses with high-margin products in niche markets and great leadership, such as Ali.

The corporate development team, which includes Tom Sullivan, Jr. and the many corporate development personnel in the operating groups, is constantly considering acquisitions from different geographies and multiple product categories. Today, we are also looking beyond the markets we have historically operated in and are considering opportunities, like Ali, that are in markets outside of, but related to, our core specialty coatings, sealants and building materials businesses.

All of this is done with one goal in mind—growing RPM over the long term.

Most leads for acquisition candidates come from you and your fellow associates at our many operating businesses. You know your strategies, markets and competitors best. Employees at every level interact with potential acquisition candidates. They could be competitors, distributors or suppliers.

If you see a potential acquisition opportunity, be sure to inform your manager or the person responsible for corporate development. The key questions to consider are, “Why would the business be better as part of RPM, and why would RPM be better by adding the business to the RPM family of companies?”

Keep these in mind as we move forward. And, as always, thank you for all that you do to drive RPM's growth and success.

John Kramer
Vice President – Corporate Development


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