When the rubber meets the road, Kraton Polymers is responsible for both ends of the equation. It makes chemical ingredients used in both autos and in asphalt for road-building. As the operating subsidiary of holding company Kraton Performance Polymers, it is a leading global producer of styrenic block copolymers (SBCs). SBCs are a kind of polymer used in a variety of plastic, rubber, and chemical products, as well as for improving the stability of asphalt. Kraton splits its operations into four main end-use markets: Adhesives, Sealants, and Coatings; Advanced Materials; Paving and Roofing; and Cariflex, its brand for isopene rubber latex products. Kraton Polymers sells its products worldwide.
The company has identified a few end-market segments to which it sells about 90% of its products. Those segments are: adhesives, sealants, and coatings; paving and roofing; and then advanced materials, which is comprised of compounding channels, personal care, and packaging and films. As a result the company focuses its R&D and business development on those products.
Kraton Polymers had been owned by Royal Dutch Shell until 2000 when investment group Ripplewood Holdings bought it. Texas Pacific Group acquired Polymer Holdings LLC (which owns Kraton), with help from affiliates of J.P. Morgan Partners, three years later. By 2009, the owners apparently felt confident enough in Kraton and in the rebounding economy to file for an IPO, choosing to form a holding company called Kraton Performance Polymers to serve as the parent company of operating subsidiary Kraton Polymers LLC.
Private investment firm Texas Pacific Group and a unit of JP Morgan Chase owned Kraton until parent company Kraton Performance Polymers went public in 2009. – less