Chemicals sector comment – February 2012


The final days of 2011 saw a further piece fall into place in the creation of Styrolution.

Styrolution was formed earlier in the year through the merger of the styrenics businesses of BASF and Ineos. In order to receive clearance for the joint-venture from the European Commission, Ineos has finalised the sale of its ELIX Polymers business to Sun European Partners, the European arm of US private equity firm Sun Capital Partners. Based in Spain, ELIX Polymers is a $250m revenues manufacturer of pre-coloured acrylonitrile-butadiene styrene (ABS) and ABS speciality thermoplastic resins. The features of these products include high impact and mechanical strength which make them suitable for applications in automotive interiors, consumer electronics, consumer goods and medical devices.

Sun Capital Partners has significant experience in the chemicals industry and has a long history of investing in chemical companies around the world. Its portfolio includes Emerald Performance Materials, a US manufacturer of advanced additives, processing aids and speciality chemicals for a variety of applications in the food, industrial and pharmaceutical industries. The private equity firm also owns Sonneborn, the world’s largest supplier of petrolatums, waxes, white oils and other speciality hydrocarbon products.


Linde Group AG has acquired the Continental European homecare business of Air Products and Chemicals Inc. The $775m transaction includes Air Products’ operations in Belgium, France, Germany, Portugal and Spain and will reinforce the German group’s European medical gas operations.

Nippon Soda Co Ltd has the remaining shares in Alkaline SA, a French supplier of metal sodium. The transaction will allow the Japanese group to take full control of its route to market in Europe as part of its strategy of focusing on the renewable energy sector.

Brenntag AG has acquired Amco Internacional SA, a Mexican speciality chemicals distributor. Amco specialises in the distribution of aroma chemicals, essential oils and food ingredients.

Ravago Group SA has acquired Amco Plastic Materials Inc, a US speciality plastics compounder. Amco specialises in the compounding of carbon-fibre, colour, glass and impact modifiers, as well as the additive blending of anti-microbials, foaming agents, lubricants, scratch resistant enhancers and UV stabilisers.

Illinois Tool Works Inc has acquired AppliChem GmbH, a German supplier of biochemical and fine chemicals for the cosmetics, food, life sciences and pharmaceutical industries. AppliChem will be integrated into the group’s ITW Performance Polymers & Fluids division where it will complement the added-value chemicals, life science products and reagents with its recent acquisitions of Panreac Quimica SL and Nova Chimica Srl.

Toray Industries Inc has acquired the remaining 30% stake in Société des Fibres de Carbone SA (SFC) from Arkema SA. The Japanese group intends to utilise SFC as its European base for carbon fibre composite material production.

Chemoxy International Ltd, a UK provider of custom manufacturing services for petrochemicals and speciality chemicals, has been the subject of a management buy-out from Dow Chemical Co. Chemoxy is a manufacturer of a range of solvents for cleaning products and paints. The buyout was backed by RBS.

A Schulman Inc has acquired Elian SA from British Vita plc for $63m. Elian is a French manufacturer of colour masterbatch products for cosmetics, healthcare, packaging and personal care applications.

Michelman Chemicals Inc has acquired the Licomer floor polish additives business of Clariant AG. Licomer is a supplier of water-based polymer dispersions and wax emulsions for the manufacture of dry-bright emulsions used in floor care applications.

French private equity firm IDI has acquired Emeraude International SA, a French distributor of polymers and other chemicals. The transaction provides an exit for French private equity firm CM-CIC LBO Partners.

Frutarom Industries Ltd has acquired a 56% stake in Etol dd, a Slovenian developer and manufacturer of flavours for the food and beverage industry. The $25m acquisition will be followed by a full bid for the remaining shares in the group. The Israeli group has also acquired Savoury Flavours Holding Ltd, a UK manufacturer of flavours and seasoning compounds for convenience foods and snacks, for $6m.

US private equity firm Arsenal Capital Partners has acquired Fluoro-Seal International Inc, a US manufacturer of barrier and surface modyfying chemicals. Fluoro-Seal specialises in products for fibres, geosynthetics and plastics.

Zep Inc has acquired Hale Group Ltd, a UK manufacturer of commercial cleaning and laundry chemicals under the Forward Chemicals and Rexodan brand names. The acquisition complements the US group’s existing European operations and broadens its reach into the commercial, industrial and public sector markets in the UK.

AkzoNobel NV has acquired the remaining shares of Metlac SpA, an Italian manufacturer of packaging coatings. The acquisition will enhance the Dutch group’s portfolio of coatings and inks for metal packaging applications.

Bayer AG has acquired the remaining 50% in Michel Baulé SA, a French manufacturer of cast polyurethane systems. The transaction will enlarge the product portfolio of Baulé thanks to the global Bayer MaterialScience network of polyurethane systems.

Via Chem Slovakia a.s. has acquired Novácke Chemické závody a.s. (NCHZ), a Slovak chemicals manufacturer. NCHZ specialises in the production of calcium carbide, PVC processing products and vinyl chloride.

Cremer Group GmbH has acquired the Sasol Ltd’s oleochemical manufacturing plant in Witten, Germany. The acquisition will complement the German group’s existing product portfolio for the cosmetics, food and pharmaceutical industries.

K+S AG has acquired Solne Mlyny a.s. (SMO), a Czech salt producer and processor. SMO will be integrated into K+S’s ESCO division where it will enhance its presence in the Eastern European market for de-icing, food grade and industrial salts.

Eastman Chemical Inc has acquired Solutia Inc, a US manufacturer of performance materials and speciality chemicals. The $3.4bn transaction will extend Eastman’s reach in emerging markets, particularly the Asia-Pacific region.

US private equity firm Sun Capital Partners has acquired ELIX Polymers SL from Styrolution Group GmbH. ELIX Polymers is a manufacturer of acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) and ABS specialty thermoplastic resins.

Borealis AG has acquired PEC-Rhin SA from GPN SA, a subsidiary of Total SA. PEC-Rhin is a producer of nitrate fertilisers as well as ammonia, ammonia water and nitric acid. GPN owned a 50% interest in PEC-Rhin and, in order to complete the disposal to Borealis, exercised its pre-emption right for the remaining 50% stake originally owned by BASF SE.

US private equity firm The Jordan Co has acquired Vantage Specialty Chemicals LLC, a US manufacturer of oleochemicals and derivatives for the consumer products, food, industrial and personal care markets. Vantage Specialty Chemicals was formed in May 2008 through the acquisition of the US oloechemicals business of Croda International plc following the UK group’s acquisition of Uniqema from ICI plc. The latest transaction provides an exit for US private equity firm HIG Capital.