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Indy-based Vertellus acquires chemical maker in U.K.

November 3, 2014

Indianapolis-based chemical producer Vertellus Specialties Inc. has acquired a similar firm in the United Kingdom that could add at least $75 million annually to its top line.

Vertellus, which ranked in IBJ's 2014 Indiana 100 as the 22nd largest private company in Indiana, announced Monday morning that it had acquired Pentagon Chemicals UK Ltd., a maker of chemicals used in the life sciences industry. The sale was finalized on Oct. 31.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Vertellus said that Pentagon would increase its annual revenue by 13 percent. Based on its $570.7 million in revenue in 2013, Vertellus could expect another $74 million in sales.

In an IBJ profile of the firm published in June, CEO Rich Preziotti said he anticipated revenue of as much as $600 million this year.

The firm has been seeking to augment its life sciences business both through internal growth and by acquisition, Preziotti said in a prepared release.

“Beyond the chemistry fit, Pentagon operates two U.K. manufacturing sites which build upon Vertellus’ position in the U.K. Having three sites in close proximity to each other will enable us to build a robust infrastructure to support additional growth,” Preziotti said.

Pentagon has about 180 employees. Its two manufacturing sites are located in the Northern England towns of Halebank and Workington.

According to its website, Pentagon makes a variety of chemicals for sectors including pharamceuticals, fuels and lubes, cleaners and detergents, and agrochemical and rodenticides.

Vertellus is a leading manufacturer of Deet insect repellant. The chemical pyridine, a compound used in herbicides, insecticides, vitamin B3 and even Head & Shoulders shampoo, generates 60 percent of Vertellus' revenue.

Another group of chemicals derived from castor oil finds its way into paints, polymers used in aerospace and medical, and additives in plastics, among other uses.

Vertellus sells more than 500 products to 2,000 customers around the world. In addition to its Indianapolis plant, it has several locations in the United States and abroad. The Indianapolis plant employs 250, and its downtown headquarters has 44.

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