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In a bid to bolster its European coatings business, Valspar Corp. (VAL - Analyst Report) has agreed to buy Italy-based industrial coatings maker Inver Holding S.r.l. for an undisclosed price. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory clearance and other customary closing conditions, is expected to complete in fourth-quarter fiscal 2013.

Inver, which had sales of roughly $200 million last year, makes liquid and powder coatings products and resins that are used in an array of industrial applications including off-road equipment, auto, architectural aluminum windows and railways. The entity primarily serves customers in the UK, France, Germany and Poland.

The buyout is in sync with Valspar’s growth strategy for its industrial coatings business and is expected to reinforce its position in the $6 billion European industrial coatings market and offer operational synergies. Valspar will leverage Inver’s strong product portfolio, leading technology and distribution network to better serve its customers in Europe.

Valspar has a strong pipeline of new products and significant opportunities for share gains in both its Paints and Coatings segments. The company is managing its cost well and maintaining a cost structure that is appropriate for the current external environment. Valspar should also benefit from its restructuring actions in fiscal 2013.

Winning new businesses also remains a company-wide focus that will position Valspar well for the future. The company remains committed to make prudent investments in world's largest industrial markets such as China, Europe and Latin America to incite growth.

Valspar, in Jan 2013, acquired the paint manufacturing assets from Ace Hardware Corporation. The acquisition boosts its retail foothold in the U.S. and offers incremental revenues from the sale of Ace-branded paints. Valspar expects to gain from new businesses in consumer paints, packaging, coil and wood coatings in second-half fiscal 2013.

Valspar currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other companies in the specialty chemicals industry with favorable Zacks Rank are American Vanguard (AVD - Snapshot Report), OM Group Inc. (OMG - Snapshot Report) and Ferro Corp. (FOE - Snapshot Report). While both American Vanguard and OM Group hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Ferro retains a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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