A Diamond in the Rough: J. M. Huber and the PATH Business

A Diamond in the Rough: J. M. Huber and the PATH Business

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  • Teaching Notes
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In late 2011, Jerry Bertram, vice president and general manager of the fire retardant additives business of Huber Engineered Materials (HEM), a division of family-owned J. M. Huber Corporation, was preparing to present the potential acquisition of the precipitated alumina trihydrate (PATH) business to the environment, health, and safety committee of Huber’s corporate board. He had convinced HEM’s leadership of PATH’s strategic value to their business and the urgency of the acquisition based on PATH’s parent company’s movement into Chapter 11 bankruptcy and its plans to close the PATH plant.

Winning board approval posed a major challenge. It was unclear whether the plant would remain operational, because HEM would have to enter a shared-services arrangement with PATH’s parent company, which continued to use the site. In ...

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