|Traded as||NYSE: VAL|
|Founded||Boston, Massachusetts (1806)|
|Key people||Gary Hendrickson (President, CEO)
James Muehlbauer (CFO, CAO)
|Operating income||US$309,570,000 (2007)|
|Net income||US$172,120,000 (2007)|
|Total assets||US$3,452,280,000 (2007)|
|Total equity||US$1,418,140,000 (2007)|
The Valspar Corporation is an international manufacturer of paint and coatings based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. With nearly 10,000 employees in 25 countries, it is the sixth largest paint and coating corporation in the world. The 200+ year old Valspar was founded in 1806 as a paint dealership in Boston, Massachusetts. The Valspar name emerged in 1903 as a new clear varnish, and became the company name in 1932.
19th century beginnings
In 1806, Samuel Tuck established a paint dealership in Boston, Massachusetts, called "Paint and Color." Over the course of 50 years, the dealership changed owners and names several times, and was eventually acquired by Augustine Stimson. In 1832, Lawson Valentine had incorporated Valentine and Company as a varnish manufacturer in Boston. The two businesses eventually merged under the name Stimson & Valentine.
Later in 1855, Otis Merriam joined as a principal owner, and in 1860 Henry Valentine, Lawson Valentine's brother, joined the company. By 1866, both Stimson and Merriam were retired from the group and the company was renamed back to Valentine & Company and Lawson Valentine hired Charles Homer, brother of American artist Winslow Homer, as a chemist for the company. Homer, being one of few chemists in the United States at the time, was the first such specialist recruited into the American varnish industry.
In 1870, Valentine & Company relocated to New York City and acquired the Minnesota Linseed Oil Paint Company. Around this time, the company began to develop varnishes for use on vehicles which could compete with English-made varnishes. Henry Valentine succeeded his brother as president in 1882, taking over a company with operations in Boston, Chicago, New York City and on the West Coast of the United States. Later their operations expanded to Pennsylvania and Paris.
The Valspar name
Valspar was the first ever clear varnish, and was developed by L. Valentine Pulsifer, Lawson Valentine's grandson. Pulsifer had joined the company in 1903 after earning a degree in chemistry from Harvard University. After three years of experimentation, he created the clear varnish, which went into production by 1905. The Valspar varnish was the company's main product for the next thirty-some years. The advertising tagline, "the varnish that won't turn white" made Valspar a household name. Famous uses of Valspar by Robert Peary in his 1909 expedition, the United States military in World War I, and Charles Lindbergh's 1927 flight helped boost its fame.
In 1932, the Valspar Corporation was formed, with Valentine & Company retained as a subsidiary. In 1960, Valspar merged with Ralph Baudhuin's Rockcote, which gave them more manufacturing in the Midwestern United States and a new headquarters in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Under the leadership of Ralph and F. J. Baudhuin, Valspar averaged almost two acquisitions per year through the 1960s. In June 1970, Valspar merged with Minnesota Paints and relocated to Minneapolis, Minnesota, and its former president, C. Angus Wurtele, became chairman of Valspar in 1973. The influx of cash from this latest acquisition boosted Valspar's acquisition power and by the end of the decade, their annual revenue had increased by $74 million.
Era of acquisitions
Prior to the 1980s, Valspar's primary focus had been on consumer business, but in 1984 they acquired Mobil's coatings business for $100 million. This effectively doubled Valspar's business; their revenue was almost equal to Mobil's coatings division. Furthermore, as the division represented less than 0.5% of Mobil's total business at the time, they were willing to sell it off for a low price. Valspar completed integration of Mobil's operations by 1986.
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Valspar continued to acquire paint and coatings companies and continued growing. Enterprise Paint Companies in 1987, the McCloskey Corporation in 1989, and Hi-Tek Polymers and portions of Cook Paint and Varnish Company in 1991. In 1993, Valspar announced that it would acquire Cargill's resin products division, but the Federal Trade Commission tried to block it as Valspar would have too large a share of the resin market in the Midwestern United States. Valspar went ahead with the deal anyway, but divided the business between two companies McWhorter Technologies and Engineered Polymer Solutions.
Richard Rompala, formerly of PPG Industries, became president in 1994, CEO in 1995 and chairman in 1998. He pushed the then-primarily North American company into China, Hong Kong, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa and acquiring some companies. In 2000, Valspar acquired Lilly Industries, which required them to divest their mirror coatings business in order to conform with United States antitrust law. However, due to the cooling economy and restructuring charges from fourteen plant closings in 2001, Valspar's twenty-six consecutive years of earnings growth was halted.
The Valspar Corporation sells its products under a number of separate brand names, many of which have been acquired through a series of buyouts in the past 20 years.
- House of Kolor
- Cabot Stain
- Barn and Fence
- De Beer
- Valspar Industrial Mix
- "The Valspar Corporation". Google Finance. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- "Our History". The Valspar Corporation. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- Merrill Lynch, November 25, 2008
- "The Valspar Corporation". NetIndustries, LLC. Retrieved 2008-11-06.
- "Valspar completes acquisition of Samuel Cabot Incorporated", Minneapolis, June 14, 2005. press release