RPM International Inc is an American multinational company with subsidiaries that manufacture and market high-performance specialty coatings, sealants and building materials. Industrial brands include Stonhard, Tremco, illbruck, Carboline, Flowcrete, Universal Sealants, Euco, Day-Glo and Dryvit. RPM's consumer products are used by professionals and do-it-yourselfers for home maintenance and improvement and by hobbyists. Consumer brands include Zinsser, Rust-Oleum, DAP, Varathane and Testors.
The company has more than 14,000 employees worldwide who work in 139 manufacturing facilities in 27 countries. Its products are sold in 170 countries and territories. It is the fourth largest paint and coating company in the world.
RPM is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol RPM. Its shares are owned by 585 institutions and 116,000 individual investors. It ranks among the top 200 in total shares held by BetterInvesting investment clubs. RPM has increased its cash dividend paid to stockholders for 43 consecutive years. Only 44 other companies, besides RPM, have consecutively paid an increasing annual dividend for this period of time or longer, according to the summer 2017 edition of the Mergent Handbook of Dividend Achievers.
Over the ten-year period from May 31, 2007, to 2017, RPM has outperformed the S&P 500 by 70 percent in total return generated for its shareholders, which includes both capital appreciation and reinvestment of dividends.
RPM operates through three segments:
In May 1947, Frank C. Sullivan founded Republic Powdered Metals, the forerunner to RPM International Inc. The company manufactured and sold a heavy-duty aluminum roof coating called Alumanation, which is still sold today. Sales in the first year reached $90,000. From the beginning Sullivan determined that the success of the business would rest with its people. “Hire the best people you can find,” he said. “Create an atmosphere that will keep them. Then, let them do their jobs.” RPM operates under this same philosophy today. Every year under his leadership, the company attained sales and earnings increases.
In August 1971, Frank Sullivan died suddenly. Later that same year, RPM, Inc. was formed to become a holding company to develop a more aggressive acquisition program in a rapidly consolidating paint and coatings industry. Frank’s son, Thomas C. Sullivan, who was previously president of Republic Powdered Metals, became chairman and chief executive officer of the holding company. He and James A. Karman, who was elected president and chief operating officer in 1978, led RPM for more than three decades.
After more than 30 years at the company’s helm, Sullivan and Karman retired as executive officers of the company in 2002. During their tenure, net sales increased to $2 billion from $11 million, net income increased to $101.6 million from $0.6 million, cash dividends per share increased to $0.50 from $0.0035 (split-adjusted), and a $1,000 investment in RPM shares in 1971 would have been worth more than $100,000.
Tom was succeeded by his son, Frank C. Sullivan, who became president and chief executive officer in 2002. He has continued to lead the company in a manner consistent with the legacy created by his father and grandfather before him. RPM’s strategy for growth remains to: establish and maintain brand leadership in the markets it serves, strike a balance between industrial and consumer markets, generate growth both organically and through acquisitions, and to maintain an entrepreneurial operating culture.
In August 2013, RPM paid $61 million to settle U.S. General Services Administration claims regarding a subsidiary's overcharging the U.S. government on roofing contracts.
In June 2014, the SEC launched an investigation into the timing of RPM’s disclosure and accrual of loss reserves involving the GSA settlement. The company subsequently restated its results for the first, second and third quarters of fiscal 2013. The restatements had no impact on its audited results for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2013.
On September 9, 2016, the SEC charged RPM and its general counsel, Edward W. Moore, with violating antifraud provisions of Federal securities laws by failing to disclose a material loss. According to the SEC's complaint Moore did not inform RPM's CEO, CFO, audit committee and independent auditors of material facts about the U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the GSA issue. The company believes the allegations are without merit and intends to defend itself in court.