PPG to Buy Mexico's Comex on the Rebound for $2.3 Billion

02.07.2014 -

In a deal that will help expand its business in Mexico and Central America, US paints and coatings specialist PPG Industries has agreed to buy Mexican paints manufacturer Consorcio Comex SA de CV (Comex) for $2.3 billion.

The takeover follows a failed link-up of Comex with PPG rival Sherwin-Williams last year.

PPG said it will fund the acquisition primarily with currently held cash and short-term investments, while adding that the deal could include some debt financing.  

Mexico's federal competition authority twice rejected Sherwin Williams' proposed $2.34 billion takeover offer for Comex, which specializes in architectural and industrial coatings, last year on grounds it would create "unfair market conditions."

The family-owned Mexican company with nearly 4,000 employees and sales of about $1 billion in 2013 said in May of this year it was suing Sherwin-Williams because it had not tried hard enough to honor the takeover agreement.

The PPG deal is still subject to regulatory approvals but the Mexican company said it was confident it would go through.

"Being part of PPG gives us new growth opportunities and synergies," Comex CEO Marcos Achar Levy said.

The takeover would be the latest in a string of Latin American investments PPG has made in recent months. In June, the company said it would invest $40 million in expanding its coatings plant in Brazil. In March it announced plans to invest more than $27 million in its coating manufacturing plant in San Juan del Rio in central Mexico and acquire Panama-based Canal Supplies, a manufacturer of protective marine coatings.

Based in Pittsburgh, PPG operates in nearly 70 countries worldwide. For 2013 it reported net sales of $15.1 billion, with Latin America accounting for $718 million.

"The acquisition is very complementary to PPG as it adds a leading architectural coatings business in Mexico and Central America, a region where PPG has negligible architectural coatings presence," a company spokesman told the news agency Reuters. Comex has eight production facilities and six distribution centers across the country.