* There’s something missing from this Quinn campaign press release…
Quinn for Illinois is continuing to take a closer look at Republican billionaire Bruce Rauner’s business record, including his strategy of outsourcing jobs overseas to drive GTCRauner’s profits. The Polymer Group, a multinational corporation formed with Bruce Rauner that produced non-woven fabrics, including feminine hygiene products and wipes, is the latest Rauner business to be profiled.
KEY QUOTE: “Their strategic story is very compelling.” -Bruce Rauner in 1998 on PolymerGroup’s use of foreign labor.
THE STORY: Bruce Rauner served as a director of the Polymer Group, operating factories around the globe that produced feminine hygiene products and wipes. Controlled by GTCRauner, the group was heavily invested in low-wage labor markets opened up by “free trade” agreements such as China and Mexico, reaping millions in profits. Rauner exited the firm around the time they declared bankruptcy, leaving investors on the hook for $600 million in debt obligations.
1994: GTCR Acquires Majority Stake in the Polymer Group and Rauner takes a seat on the board of directors. [Polymer Group, SEC S-1/A, 05/07/96]
1995: Polymer Expanded and Increased Manufacturing in Mexico Shortly After NAFTA Went into Effect in 1994. According to a Polymer SEC S-1/A Filing in May 1996: “The Company recently completed an expansion in Mexico with the installation of a new 4.2 meter SMS line with unique and proprietary capabilities…. The Company continuously evaluates opportunities to expand its existing production capacity or enhance production technologies. The Company has invested approximately $50.0 million in capital improvements since 1992 to either debottleneck existing assets or to add new capabilities and capacity. The largest of these projects is a state-of-the-art SMS line at the San Luis Potosi, Mexico facility, which line began commercial production in the third quarter of 1995.”[Polymer Group, SEC Filing S-1/A, 5/7/96]
1995: Nearly Half of the Company’s Sales Were Derived from Operations Conducted Outside the United States. “The Company manufactures certain of its products in Germany, Canada, Mexico and the Netherlands. In 1995, approximately 42% of the Company’s net sales ($182.3 million) were derived from operations conducted outside the United States.” [Polymer Group, SEC Filing S-1/A, 5/7/96]
By 1999, Polymer Operated 23 Manufacturing Facilities “Strategically Located” in Eight Countries on Three Continents, Including Mexico and Argentina. Polymer reported in its 1998 Annual Report that, “PGI is currently in the final stages of building/acquiring new facilities in Colombia, Turkey, and China. With these new facilities, PGI will operate plants in 11 countries on four continents.” [Polymer Group, 1998 Annual Report]
Between 1993 and 2002, Sales From Polymer’s Foreign Manufacturing Facilities Increased From $28 Million to $404.6 Million. [Polymer Group, SEC Filing 10-K, 04/14/03]
2000: GTCRauner Exits Polymer Group. [Private Equity International, 05/04]
December 2001: Rauner and another GTCRauner Principal Remain on the Board of Directors. [Polymer Group, SEC Filing 10-K, 04/12/02]
May 2002: Polymer Group Files for Bankruptcy. [Associated Press, 05/13/02]
Subsequent filings show Rauner no longer listed as director after May 2002. [Polymer Group, SEC Filing 10-K , 05/1/02 (Amendment) , 04/14/03]
I get that “jobs outsourcing” is usually a bad thing for businessman candidates like Bruce Rauner, particularly when the story ends in bankruptcy.
But usually those stories include emotional tales of laid-off American workers. I don’t see any references to Americans losing their jobs here. Sure, he can be criticized for not opening American plants and hiring American workers, but this isn’t the best “hit” I’ve ever seen.
But, hey, maybe I’m wrong. Your opinions, please?