India’s United Phosphorous Ltd. is in talks to acquire Arysta LifeScience, a division of Platform Specialty Products, according to a report in Bloomberg citing people familiar with the matter. The deal could be worth as much as $4 billion, including debt, the report says. Arysta reported sales of about $1.9 billion in 2017, accounting for about half of Platform’s total sales.
Platform said on Monday that is in exclusive discussions with an unnamed buyer about Arysta. “We have had discussions with several parties regarding an acquisition of or investment in Arysta LifeScience,” says Platform CEO Rakesh Sachdev. “We are now in exclusive discussions with a potential acquirer of the business and expect to have more information to provide to our shareholders and all our stakeholders on or before our second quarter earnings conference call.”
The company announced in August 2017 that it will split Arysta from its other business, electronic chemicals maker MacDermid. The split was initially intended to entail Arysta and MacDermid both becoming publicly traded companies.
Platform, a blank-check firm founded by former Jarden executive Martin Franklin, acquired Arysta in 2015 for $3.51 billion. Arysta’s previous owner was Pemira (London), a private equity firm. Platform’s ag business also includes the former Agriphar and the former agchems business of Chemtura.
The Arysta business was hit hard by the downturn in ag over the past few years; however, first-quarter results saw profits recover.
MacDermid was acquired by Platform from a private equity consortium in 2013 for $1.8 billion, and the company built out the electronic chemicals business with the $2.3-billion acquisition of Alent and some businesses acquired from OM Group, all of which were merged into MacDermid. No rumors have thus far surfaced about a potential buyer for MacDermid.
Pershing Square Capital management, headed by activist investor Bill Ackman, is currently Platform’s largest shareholder, according to Bloomberg.
UPL makes a variety of agricultural chemicals and seeds, and also owns an industrial chemicals business. The company expanded its exposure in seeds by acquiring a stake in a Brazilian firm last year. It posted a 0.67% decline in net profit for the fiscal fourth quarter ended 31 March, to 7.36 billion Indian rupees ($110.29 million). Revenue increased by 4.9% year over year to Rs58.09 billion.
By Vincent Valk
Source: Chemical Week
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