Sector News

Sika CEO says he'll quit if Saint-Gobain takeover bid succeeds

September 22, 2016
Chemical Value Chain

The chief executive of Swiss specialty chemicals company Sika does not see an amicable solution to Saint-Gobain’s hostile takeover attempt, now mired in Swiss courts, and will quit if it goes ahead, he said on Tuesday.

Sika’s management has been fighting since December 2014 against the takeover by the French company, which wants to buy the controlling stake held by Sika’s founding Burkard-Schenker family for 2.75 billion Swiss francs ($2.8 bln).

Sika’s opposition to the bid has won the support of other shareholders including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Trust amid the company’s strong sales growth.

“The plans I have seen from Saint-Gobain are not good for Sika,” Chief Executive Jan Jenisch said at a company event in Zurich. “They will destroy our growth model and I will not be available for such plans.”

So far, the Swiss company has restricted the Burkard-Schenker family’s voting rights to block the deal. A court ruling is expected later this year, though the case may not be resolved for several years.

“It is frustrating, after some two years we hear nothing from Saint-Gobain,” Jenisch, a German national who has worked at Sika for 20 years, said. “I don’t see any amicable solution.”

Saint-Gobain, whose construction materials include glass, insulation, plasterboards and floor covering mortars, declined to comment on Tuesday.

The takeover has not distracted Sika from its focus, Jenisch said, adding all members of its board oppose the takeover.

Revenue grew 6.9 percent in the first half of 2016, while net profit increased nearly 25 percent.

Jenisch confirmed guidance for Baar-based Sika, which makes chemicals used in the automotive and construction industry, to increase sales by 6 to 8 percent this year.

The company is also expected to complete two small acquisitions this year in the range of up to 50 million francs each, Jenisch said.

Sika has made around 90 acquisitions in the last five years around the world.

($1 = 0.9769 Swiss francs)

By John Revill

Source: Reuters

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