'80s Financier Edelman Buys Stake in Chemi-Trol

Author:
Publish date:

By Erle Norton
Staff Reporter

Would-be corporate raider Asher Edelman is back.

Edelman, who was a client of junk-bond king Michael Milken in the go-go 1980s, has acquired a stake in

Chemi-Trol Chemical

(CTRL) - Get Report

, a sleepy Gibsonburg, Ohio-based maker of steel pressure tanks and pavement making and vegetation control materials.

According to a 13-d filed Thursday with the

Securities and Exchange Commission

, Edelman through

Edelman Value Partners

and

Edelman Value Fund

has acquired 107,650 common shares, or a 5.4% stake in Chemi-Trol. He intends to "closely monitor developments at the company, especially concerning methods for maximizing shareholder value. The reporting persons intend to meet with management and other shareholders to recommend possible actions for the company to initiate in order to improve shareholder value," the filing says.

The filing, which indicates that Edelman hurdled the 5% mark March 26, states that he paid $1,197,490 for the securities.

The filing adds that Edelman has requested a shareholder list from the company and may use it to contact other shareholders to gain support. "The reporting persons have acquired the shares of the company with a view to making a profit," it says.

An Edelman spokesman declined to comment. Chemi-Trol could not be reached for comment.

Chemi-Trol already is restructuring. In December, it hired investment bank

McDonald & Co.

of Cleveland to explore the sale of two noncore businesses. On March 25, it completed the sale of one, its

Cory Orchard & Turf

products unit, for $4.8 million. It also is considering selling its

Cal-Van Tools

unit, which makes specialty hand tools for automotive repair.

Its earnings have been less than stellar. The company earned $1.3 million, or 63 cents a share, last year, down from $1.5 million, or 74 cents, in 1995. Revenue slipped 0.8% to $70.5 million from $71.05 million.

And its stock has been a laggard. It hit 12 3/4 on Oct. 31 but since has slipped to 10 1/4. It hasn't traded since Tuesday.

(As originally published, this story said, in error, that the stock hadn't traded since Monday.)

Edelman is a former arbitrager who originally bought stakes in small companies such as

Canal-Randolph

and pushed them to sell assets, which boosted their market values. He then aimed higher, unsuccessfully gunning for the likes of

Fruehauf

and British retailer

Storehouse

.

With a net worth estimated at one time at more than $200 million, he also turned his attention to the art world, becoming a major buyer of contemporary works in the 1980s. But in 1995 he was selling some pieces of his collection, including

Jasper Johns'

Winter

painting, which fetched a reported $3 million at a

Sotheby's

auction.

Investors should keep in mind another Edelman investment,

Datapoint

(DPT)

, a San Antonio-based provider of computer-network services. Edelman seized control of Datapoint in 1985. Since mid-1985, its stock has dropped about 90%.