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January 11, 2017

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Inolex’s Lexolube Division Acquired

Zschimmer & Schwarz announced last week the acquisition of Inolex’s Lexolube division, whose synthetic esters are used primarily in industrial lubricants, and said it is building another esterification plant to increase its own production capacity by more than 50 percent.

Zschimmer & Schwartz Inc. is based in Milledgeville, Georgia, and its parent company Zschimmer & Schwarz Group is headquartered in Lahnstein, Germany. According to its web site, the Lexolube synthetic esters can be used in a wide variety of applications, such as food grade lubricants, high-temperature greases, metalworking fluids, fire-resistant hydraulic fluids and textile and compressor applications.

“Zschimmer & Schwarz is an ester producer in a big way and was a previous supplier to Inolex and purchased their product line to accelerate our growth in the lubricant market,” Zschimmer & Schwarz Inc. CEO William Burton told Lube Report.

Burton noted the company has 80 million pounds per year of ester production capacity at its Milledgeville plant, which opened in 2003, and has sold esters to lubricant blenders. “We’re building a new facility to continue our growth, to add another 50 million pounds,” Burton said. “We have targeted a 2018 start-up for the new facility. We’ve been a big esters producer for many years, and this was a segment that’s very interesting to us, where we already participated.”

He said the company won’t need new equipment to produce the Lexolube synthetic ester. Building the additional esterification plant will allow Zschimmer & Schwarz to continue its plans for rapid growth even after the acquisition, “so we can continue to grow in the next five years,” he added.

He said that while Zschimmer & Schwarz already sells esters to a variety of end markets, including water treatment, oilfield, personal care and plasticizers, “lubricants is a top priority for us.”

The lone employee moving over from Lexolube is Tyler Housel, who was vice president of the division. “Tyler’s done a great job of starting and developing the Lexolube line, and he’s going to continue those efforts for Zschimmer & Schwarz,” Burton said.

Housel  noted that Zschimmer & Schwarz already makes a significant amount of synthetic esters in Milledgeville. “It has nice equipment, and I expect it will be able to make the Lexolube products with minimal modification.”

Lexolube and Zschimmer & Schwarz have some common customers. “Z&S has traditionally focused more effort in simple, diesters and some lower viscosity polyol esters,” he explained. “Lexolube is more known for food-grade polyol esters and complex esters. Together, the product line is broader, and we have a wider range of products to satisfy customer needs. A significant benefit to Lexolube is the larger capacity and more modern production capacity.”

To guarantee a smooth transition, Inolex will continue to produce Lexolube products for a certain period at its plant in the Philadelphia area until manufacturing is transferred to the Milledgville site. Sales for Lexolube products will be exclusively handled by Zschimmer & Schwarz Inc.

“This transaction represents an important strategic milestone for Inolex as we focus on providing innovative ingredients and technology into the beauty care and related consumer care markets,” said David Plimpton, president and CEO of Inolex, in a news release. “Lexolube has been a successful part of the Inolex platform for many years, and we look forward to supporting a smooth transition of the division to Zschimmer & Schwarz.”