Merger Creates Nation's Largest Leather Tannery

Combined businesses will be known as Prime Tanning Co., with revenues of more than $225 million a year.

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Irving Tanning Co., of Hartland, and Prime Tanning Inc., of Berwick, have signed a letter of intent to join forces to create what they say will be the nation's largest leather tannery.
The companies, which produce leather that's sold to manufacturers of shoes, belts, purses and other accessories, said the merged business will be known as Prime Tanning Co. and will have combined revenues of more than $225 million a year.
Officials said there will be no immediate effect on the 565 jobs at the two sites and that there is a possibility of expansion.
President and CEO Bob Moore and Co-Chairmen Mike and Steve Kaplan of Prime Tanning will head the combined entity, while Dick Larochelle of Irving Tanning will become executive vice president and will be in charge of international operations.
Paul Larochelle, who as vice president of finish leathers operations will oversee the Hartland and Berwick facilities, said the merger ''is definitely good news for both companies.''
Irving Tanning Co. employs about 115 people at Hartland and has the capacity to finish more than 30 million feet of leather a year. It also has a joint venture in India with Bhartiya International Ltd.
In addition to its Berwick operation, Prime Tanning has a facility in St. Joseph, Mo., that preserves rawhides. Prime's two locations have a combined work force of about 450 and can process 155 million feet of leather a year.
The companies finished leather operations have minimal customer overlap, Paul Larochelle said. Their combined portfolio of footwear and accessory brands includes Born, H.H. Brown, Coach, Cole Haan, Justin Brands, Rocky Brands, SAS, Sofft, Timberland, Wolverine and the U.S. military, he said.
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