As in so many other industries, the companies who supply us with paints and finishes are consolidating at a rapid rate. When I started in this field 40 years ago, there were all sorts of local and regional suppliers. Every store carried its own unique brands. Minwax was a very small player.
It was just announced that Sherwin-Williams is buying Valspar. In addition to its own brand, Valspar owns Cabot and Guardsman among others. Sherwin-Williams also owns Minwax, Dutch Boy, Krylon and Thompson’s Water Seal.
There seem to be three large global coatings firms slowly buying up everyone else. The largest is AkzoNobel, based in The Netherlands. With the addition of Valspar, Sherwin-Williams, based in Cleveland, will be close behind. The third company, close behind Sherwin-Williams is PPG, based in Pittsburgh.
AkzoNobel owns Cetol, Sikkens, Chemcraft, Dulux, Sadolin (which my shop used in Denmark in the 1970s), Interlux and ITI, among many other companies. PPG owns Glidden, Sico, Olympic and Devoe, in addition to its own PPG brand and many others.
I can understand the business reason for these large coatings suppliers to continue to consolidate, but I don’t think it serves us, the consumer, well. Slowly, formulas and even labels also consolidate to rationalize expenses. The wide variety of products we once had access to shrinks.
Just look at what’s happened in the airline industry in the last decade. Have you flown recently?
Editors note: Bob Flexner’s blog will be on the PWM shop blog until the end of March and will then move to the Flexner on Finishing blog here…