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Angus Chemical sets ambitious goal

Since Angus Chemical Co. was acquired by private equity firm Golden Gate Capital in February 2015, the company has set the ambitious goal of doubling its business and becoming a billion-dollar company within five years. It has the unique advantage that the current regulatory environment is in its favor, explained Michael Lewis, business vice president.

“Under the previous ownership,” Lewis said, “the Angus business was being operated within a portfolio of other businesses at Dow. We were sharing a lot of resources, and the focus on specialty chemicals was not what it needed to be in order to focus on sustained growth,” he said.

Growth is expected to come from products that Angus already offers today, but in the long term, the company plans to introduce new products in each of the industries it serves, which include paints and coatings, personal care, life sciences and metalworking fluids.

Lewis said Angus plans to release a new product within the year, meant to extend the life of metalworking fluids and offer some of the same advantages as its current metalworking products, Corrguard 95 and Corrguard EXT, including pH buffering and corrosion inhibition.

Lewis said that in the near future, regulations will benefit Angus favorably. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for example, has regulations against volatile organic compounds (VOC). One of Angus’s flagship chemicals, AMP, last year received VOC-exempt status from the EPA, because it proved that it meets or exceeds the zero-VOC benchmarks. As a result, AMP may be considered for applications for which it was not previously considered.

As regulations continue to change, Lewis said he believes that people will continue to choose Angus products because of their favorable environmental profiles. Combining this with the introduction of new products, “I think we can grow well in excess of the organic growth rates of the industry,” he said.

Based in Buffalo Grove, Ill., U.S.A., the company specializes in nitroalkanes and their derivatives, and was acquired by Dow Chemical Co. in 1999. ANGUS is the acronym for Alberta Natural Gas US, which owned the company at one time.  ANGUS was started in the 1940s, based on a 1934 patent issued to three scientists at Purdue University for the nitration of propane. The nitroalkanes that ANGUS sells were originally used as a solvent. Today, the company has a very small solvents business and mostly sells downstream derivatives of nitroalkanes.