The Geon and the M.A. Hanna announced plans to merge in a stock-swap transaction.

CLEVELAND — The Geon Co. and the M.A. Hanna Co. announced plans to merge in a stock-swap transaction, a combination that the companies said would result in the world’s biggest polymer-services company. The merger will create a new company, based in Cleveland, with initial annual revenue of approximately $3.5 billion. The new company will pursue an “aggressive acquisition strategy,” the merger partners said.

Under a transition plan, current M.A. Hanna Chairman, President and CEO Phillip D. Ashkettle will become chairman and CEO of the combined company, and Geon Chairman and CEO Thomas A. Waltermire will be president and chief operating officer. Waltermire is scheduled to become CEO in 2002 and chairman in 2004, the companies said.

M.A. Hanna, based in Cleveland, is a specialty polymers company focusing on the plastics and rubber markets, and has operations in North America, Europe and Asia. Geon, based in Avon Lake, OH, is a supplier of polymer services and technologies, vinyl compounds, specialty vinyl resins and formulations, engineered films, and other products.