By Liz White, UT staffJoyce Corp. plans to sell its foam business to Indian foam maker Sheela Foam Pvt Ltd for $16 million. The Australian furnishings manufacturer has reached an agreement with Sheela Foam to sell the polyurethane and polystyrene foam businesses, subject to due diligence, according to a 28 Aug company announcement. Joyce said the sale-to be considered at a shareholders’ Extraordinary General Meeting in early October-will add $5 million to its assets. Joyce’s earlier attempt to sell this business to another Australia foamer, Pacific Brands Ltd, was scuppered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as undermining competition. The ACCC ruled in February this year that since Pacific Brands’ foam unit Dunlop Foams and Joyce were each other’s most significant market constraint, competitors would be at a disadvantage against a merged business. According to Joyce, its Foam Products business is “Australia’s most diversified in terms of product range,” accounting for some 35 percent of the flexible PU foam market in Australia. Joyce added that its polystyrene business is “pre-eminent in Western Australia in moulded containers for the perishable food industry, as well as moulded and block foam for the building and construction industries.” Sheela Foam, based in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh holds about 35 percent of the Indian flexible polyurethane foam market. The group, with annual turnover of 2500 million rupees ($57 million), intends to develop its foam interests in Australasia, Joyce’s statement said. The sale is consistent with Joyce’s “previously expressed view that there is a need for more robust business structures in Australia in order to help domestic manufacturers compete on a global basis,’ commented Joyce’s directors, in the firm’s statement on the agreement with Sheela. Sale of the foam unit will leave Joyce with funds to “aggressively pursue” development of its Bedshed Franchising Pty Ltd, a beds and bedroom furniture operation. Joyce presently owns 49 percent of Bedshed. Sheela Foam claims to have pioneered the use of PU foam in India, becoming the largest foam manufacturer in the country. It has eight manufacturing plants, with units including Sleepwell Enterprises Pvt. Ltd, Soft Foam Industries Pvt. Ltd, Feather Foam Enterprises Pvt. Ltd, Serta India Pvt. Ltd and Dunlopillo India Pvt. Ltd.”
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