I think everyone was collectively hoping that with the ushering in of a new year the world would somehow re-set to calmer, more “normal” times. Well, we are only a month into 2021 and there hasn’t been a dull moment. Aside from all of the political and COVID news, the coatings world has been busy as well, especially on the M&A front. PPG has announced its plans to acquire Ennis-Flint, Tikkurila, Wörwag and VersaFlex. And AkzoNobel has thrown its hat into the ring with a proposal to acquire Tikkurila as well.

In December we published an interview with Leland Harrs, Managing Director, Head of Chemicals, at Houlihan Lokey, a leading global investment bank in New York, regarding merger and acquisition activity during the pandemic. Harrs noted that while COVID had an initial chilling effect on M&A, he was seeing signs that market psychology had improved and that the M&A market is very much open. In November when the interview took place, he noted, “I think the first phase of M&A market recovery from COVID is already underway, evidenced by smaller, less-risky deals. The next phase could include some larger consolidation activity.” This next phase that Harrs alluded to seems to have begun.

There is also a lot of movement on the vaccine front, which is bringing hope that community spread of the pandemic will end sometime in the first half of this year. However since that reality is still many months away, several coatings conferences have had to once again either re-schedule or transition their early 2021 events to a virtual platform. In the last few weeks, I have been notified of updates on the following events. Be sure to check our Calendar on page 13 for more details and links to all conference websites.

  • Waterborne Symposium – now a one-day virtual event on February 10
  • Smart Coatings – now a virtual event Feb. 24-26
  • Surface Finishing Mexico – now a virtual event March 23-24, with an in-person event taking place Oct. 5-7
  • DSCT FOCUS – now a virtual event May 6-7
  • Sink or Swim – re-scheduled for Aug. 23-25

PCI has been busy as well. We are in the process of transitioning to a completely new e-Magazine platform, which I’m excited to launch with our March issue. We are also re-designing our website over the coming months, so stay tuned for two new looks!

Lots of breaking news and changes already in 2021 – it’s looking to be an active year!