Indianapolis firm acquires Louisiana’s Bercen Chemicals


Indiana’s Vertellus has acquired Denham Springs-based Bercen Chemicals, a leading U.S. supplier of alkyl succinic anhydrides and additives used in the fuel, lubricant, and paper industries.

In making the announcement, Jim Elliott, general manager of Vertellus’ Anhydrides & Specialties, said the acquisition provides the company “with a strong foundation to better serve the global fuel and lubricant additives market.”

Bercen, an employee-owned company, relocated its global headquarters from Rhode Island to Denham Springs in 2009, investing $5 million to add 13,000 square feet of office and laboratory space to a manufacturing facility it had operated there since 1978. The Eden Church Road site expansion also included improvements to a rail spur on the site.

According to Bercen, that relocation and upgrades led to a period of rapid growth—an average of 14% annually. In 2012, the company began operations in Singapore, servicing the Asia-Pacific. Two years later, Bercen launched Texalene, ash-less fuel additive, to service customers in the fuel and lubricant additives market, and in 2015, launched EcoARMOUR functional coating chemicals, leveraging the company’s coatings capabilities.

In particular, Vertellus cited Bercen’s pilot facilities, which the company created to test and scale up new products prior to full production plant trials. The process allows clients to observe and participate in the co-development of new products. The Pilot Plant comprises two operations: a multistage, fixed bed catalyst system, and an
80 L reactor and receiver unit with wiped film evaporator or batch distillation capabilities.

The plant makes it possible to evaluate new homogeneous and heterogeneous catalyst programs to change the chemical structure of products, evaluate potential new raw materials, evaluate new production techniques and different conditions to see how these changes affect final product performance and establish the optimum manufacturing parameters for new chemistries.

Also making Bercen favorable for acquisition, Vertellus noted, were its blending capabilities in Singapore, providing a platform to support the growing Asian market.

Vertellus, founded in 1857 as a castor oil business in New Jersey, provides specialty chemicals for the agriculture, nutrition, pharmaceutical, fine chemicals, medical, personal care, plastics, coatings and other industrial markets.

Read the announcement.