CTT’s keynote speaker, Ben Scharff, Managing Director at Grace Matthews, is focusing on the significant recent merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the coatings industry. Whether a supplier, formulator or customer, the aggression and frenetic pace of the M&A markets are changing the way we compete and conduct business. Companies large and small, throughout the coatings value chain, are being impacted not only by the number and size of deals, but also by the high transaction multiples being paid. Large strategic buyers remain highly valued and cash-rich, whereby growth is inherently built into the valuations of most companies that cannot be met by organic means alone. Financial buyers, buoyed by loose credit markets and lower-return thresholds, continue to look for areas to deploy record levels of capital. It’s a race to see who can consolidate the value chain, from the wellhead to the end user, most rapidly.