BASF is looking to shed a sizeable portfolio of assets to try to salvage a deal it struck in 2017 to buy Belgian chemicals group Solvay’s polyamide business, people close to the matter said.
The German company is working with investment bank Lazard to find a buyer for the plastics assets, which could be valued at about 450 million euros ($515 million), including debt, the people said.
Information packages were sent out to potential buyers just before Christmas, and first-round bids are expected by the end of the month, they added.
BASF and Lazard declined to comment, while Solvay was not immediately available for comment.
To try to allay concerns raised by European Union antitrust regulators, BASF offered in October to exclude parts of Solvay’s European polyamide business, including innovation capabilities, from the list of assets it plans to acquire.
It also offered to exclude manufacturing assets of Solvay’s intermediate and engineering plastics business.
The European Commission has set a provisional deadline of Jan. 25 for its ruling on the planned deal.
According to people close to the matter, BASF is marketing the assets to companies that also took part in the 2017 auction for the Solvay business, including South Korea’s SK Innovation, China’s KingFa, and private equity group SK Capital, which owns peer Ascend.
The assets, with estimated core earnings of about 60 million euros and an expected enterprise value (equity plus debt) of 7-8 times that, also include engineering plastics that have whet the appetite of peers such as Lanxess, they added.
BASF is seeking to strengthen its nylon business and enhance its access to key growth markets in Asia and South America with the Solvay deal. The purchase would boosts its activities in nylon, or polyamide 6-6, a heat-resistant engineering plastic that is used in textiles and also industrial parts such as tube fittings, cooling fans and engine air ducts.
For Solvay, the sale is part of its drive to divest high-volume products and focus on specific applications in aerospace, automotive and the oil and gas industries where it can achieve higher margins.
EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said last year that as only a few manufacturers provide essential inputs to produce different nylon products, a careful assessment was needed whether the proposed acquisition would lead to higher prices.
A main precursor material for polyamide 6-6 is ADN. The main suppliers of this material are Ascend as well as Butachimie, a joint venture of Solvay and Invista, a former DuPont business now held by Koch Industries.
By Arno Schuetze
The new Hydrogen Technologies business will be headed up by Ralph Calmes, who has been appointed Managing Director Hydrogen Technologies. Ralph, who previously led JM’s Platinum Group Metal Services business, will take up this role effective 1 October with both Eugene McKenna (Green Hydrogen) and Jo Godden (Fuel Cells) reporting directly to him. Ralph will report to Group Chief Executive Robert Macleod.
The Supervisory Board of Lenzing AG, the world’s leading producer of wood-based cellulosic fibers, has come to a mutual agreement with its longstanding Chief Executive Officer Stefan Doboczky to end his contract.
PlasticsEurope says that Europe’s plastics producers support the European Commission’s previously announced proposal for a mandatory EU recycled content target for plastics packaging, as defined in the Commission’s Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive (PPWD). This target should be 30% for plastics packaging by 2030, PlasticsEurope says.