Industry News

Kraton Signs Definitive Agreement to Combine with the SBC Business of LCY Chemical Corp.

Published on 2014-01-29. Author : SpecialChem

HOUSTON -- Kraton Performance Polymers, Inc. (NYSE: KRA), a global producer of highly-engineered polymers, announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to combine with the styrenic block copolymer ("SBC") operations of Taiwan-based LCY Chemical Corp. ("LCY"). The transaction will combine Kraton's broad product portfolio and innovation platform with LCY's cost-effective and innovative SBC operations and its proven record of driving growth in China and broader Asia.

The combination agreement calls for LCY to contribute its SBC business in exchange for newly issued shares in the combined company, such that Kraton's shareholders and LCY will each own 50% of the outstanding shares of the combined enterprise. The combined company will be incorporated in the UK, will be listed on the NYSE, and will be led by Kevin M. Fogarty, Kraton's President and Chief Executive Officer, and a global management team with administrative headquarters located in Houston, Texas.

"This combination addresses the strategic objectives of both Kraton and LCY. For Kraton, it represents a logical next step in our ongoing strategy to reposition our manufacturing assets, providing for significant improvements in overall cost structure, and furthering our investments in Asia, thereby increasing our participation in the fast-growing markets of China, and Asia Pacific more generally. Moreover, the combined company's capital structure, financial flexibility and cash-flow profile will serve as a strong foundation for continued investment in growth," said Kevin M. Fogarty, Kraton's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Kraton is an innovation company and our commitment to innovation, including our ongoing portfolio shift, will continue as the combined company focuses on accelerating growth in both its innovation portfolio and its core product offerings."

"LCY's SBC business, with its cost-effective operations and the strategic location of its manufacturing plants, including its recently expanded 300 kiloton plant in Huizhou, China, has generated growth rates exceeding twice the average of the SBC industry. Operations of the combined company will benefit significantly from LCY's cost-effective process capabilities and strategic sourcing of raw materials in Asia," added Fogarty. "We expect the combination to result in synergies of $65 million on a run-rate basis by 2017, which will be achieved through fixed-cost rationalization, optimization of variable-costs and through reductions in overhead costs. We estimate we will incur costs totaling approximately $70 million in the next three years to achieve these synergies. We also expect the combination to be accretive on an operating basis by $0.75 - $0.80 in the first full year of combined operations."

"Through the leadership of Bowei Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LCY, LCY has established an impressive track record for profitable growth in its SBC operations. We feel that LCY's market presence in Asia and the cost effectiveness of its manufacturing operations provide a strong complement to the innovation focus and portfolio breadth of Kraton," said Dan Smith, Chairman of Kraton's Board of Directors. "The combination of Kraton and LCY's SBC business will result in a company with extensive capabilities and will establish a platform for continued innovation and profitable growth that will benefit Kraton's shareholders, its customers and employees," Smith added. "With one-third of pro forma revenues coming from China and greater Asia, the combined company will be geographically balanced across its three regions - the Americas, Europe and Asia - and well-positioned to serve customers around the world with an industry-leading platform of innovation-grade products."

"The combination agreement between the parties addresses the strategic objectives for both LCY and Kraton and allows the combined company to develop and manufacture more innovative products for broader applications in a cost efficient manner. The combination of LCY's innovative SBC manufacturing technology and geographic focus in higher growth markets with Kraton's leading R&D resources will make the new company a leading global player in SBC's. Projected synergies are expected to be achieved within three years, creating significant value for the combined company, shareholders and employees, as well as continuing to promote Taiwan's petrochemical industry as an important force on the international stage," said Bowei Lee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of LCY.

The new combined company will be a public limited company under the laws of England to enhance the financial flexibility of the global enterprise. The combined company will establish a registered office in England, and will maintain administrative headquarters in Houston, Texas. At the closing of the transaction, Kraton, as well as the entities owning LCY's SBC business will become subsidiaries of the combined company. The current shareholders of Kraton will exchange their shares on a one-for-one basis for shares in the combined company. At closing, Kraton's shareholders will own 50% of the shares of the combined company, and LCY will own the other 50%. The stock of the combined company will be listed and traded on the NYSE, and the company will continue to report earnings and financial results on a dollar-denominated basis in accordance with U.S. SEC rules.

Pursuant to a shareholder agreement to be entered into at closing setting forth governance rights and limitations relating to LCY's ownership, the Board of Directors of the combined company will consist of 14 directors, with seven of Kraton's ten current directors continuing to serve as directors of the combined company. LCY will designate seven directors to the combined company's Board. Dan Smith, who serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kraton, will become Chairman of the combined company's Board for a period of two years post-close, after which, the LCY designees on the combined company Board will select the Chairman for a period of two years. Thereafter the Chairman will be selected by the full Board.

LCY's SBC operations are expected to be contributed on a cash free, debt-free basis, such that upon closing, long-term debt of the combined company is expected to be essentially unchanged from that of Kraton and therefore the combined leverage ratio is expected to decline to less than 1.5 turns in the first year.

The Board of Directors of LCY has also approved the definitive agreement to combine LCY's SBC operations with Kraton. The combination is subject to the approval of Kraton's and LCY's shareholders; U.S., Taiwan, China and Turkey regulatory approvals; and other customary regulatory and other approvals and conditions. The transaction is currently expected to close in the fourth quarter 2014, subject to the timing of necessary regulatory approvals. Kraton intends to file a proxy statement/prospectus with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission relating to the transaction as promptly as practicable.

Lazard is acting as Kraton's financial advisor and Kraton's legal advisor is Baker Botts L.L.P. Citi is acting as LCY's financial advisor, and LCY's legal advisor is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.


Kraton Performance Polymers, Inc., through its operating subsidiary Kraton LLC and its subsidiaries (collectively, "Kraton"), is a leading global producer of engineered polymers and one of the world's largest producers of styrenic block copolymers (SBCs), a family of products whose chemistry was pioneered by Kraton 50 years ago. Kraton's polymers are used in a wide range of applications, including adhesives, coatings, consumer and personal care products, sealants and lubricants, and medical, packaging, automotive, paving, roofing and footwear products. The company, offers a diverse range of products to more than 800 customers in over 60 countries worldwide, and is the only SBC producer with manufacturing and service capabilities on four continents. Kraton manufactures products at five plants globally, including its flagship plant in Belpre, Ohio, the most diversified SBC plant in the world, as well as plants in Germany, France, Brazil and Japan. The plant in Japan is operated by an unconsolidated manufacturing joint venture.

Kraton, the Kraton logo and design, and the "Giving Innovators their Edge" tagline are all trademarks of Kraton LLC.


LCY Chemical Corp. was established in 1965 and has been involved in the petrochemical industry for nearly 50 years. LCY Chemical Corp. operates business across various industries, including chemicals, plastics, rubber, copper foil, storage and solar energy. LCY Chemical Corp. continues to expand its scale of operations, strengthen its corporate competitiveness and continues to value the safety, health and environmental protection of the communities it operates in.


This press release includes forward-looking statements that reflect our plans, beliefs, expectations and current views with respect to, among other things, the combination and future events and financial performance. Forward-looking statements are often characterized by the use of words such as "outlook," "believes," "estimates," "expects," "projects," "may," "intends," "plans" or "anticipates," or by discussions of strategy, plans or intentions, including statements regarding expected synergies from the combination and the costs and timing to obtain them; expectations regarding the accretiveness of the combination; capabilities and advantages of the combined company; whether the transaction will close and the expected timing thereof; and projected debt levels and leverage ratios and estimates.

All forward-looking statements in this press release are made based on management's current expectations and estimates, which involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements. Our expectations and assumptions regarding cost rationalizations, variable cost optimizations and reductions in overhead may not materialize, or our costs to achieve synergies may exceed our estimates, any of which would adversely affect our ability to achieve projected synergies. Our expectations and assumptions regarding the financial performance of the combined company may not materialize, which would adversely affect our ability to achieve expected accretion. Regulatory approvals that are conditions to the closing may not be obtained as anticipated, which could delay or prevent closing of the transaction. Our performance or that of LCY's could be adversely affected by other risks and uncertainties, which would adversely affect the ability of the combined company to achieve expected advantages. In the case of Kraton, these risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, those described in our latest Annual Report on Form 10-K, including but not limited to "Part I, Item 1A. Risk Factors" and "Part I, Item 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations" therein, and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and include, but are not limited to, risks related to: conditions in the global economy and capital markets; declines in raw material costs; limitations in the availability of raw materials we need to produce our products in the amounts or at the prices necessary for us to effectively and profitably operate our business; competition in our end-use markets, from other producers of SBCs and from producers of products that can be substituted for our products; and other factors of which we are currently unaware or deem immaterial. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made, and company assumes no obligation to update such information in light of new information or future events.


This communication includes the use of both GAAP and non-GAAP financial measures. The non-GAAP financial measures are EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA. It considers these non-GAAP financial measures important supplemental measures of financial performance and believe they are frequently used by investors, securities analysts and other interested parties in the evaluation of our performance and/or that of other companies in our industry, including period-to-period comparisons. Further, management uses these measures to evaluate operating performance.

These non-GAAP financial measures have limitations as analytical tools and in some cases can vary substantially from other measures of financial performance. You should not consider them in isolation, or as a substitute for analysis of results under GAAP in the United States. In the case of EBITDA, these limitations include: EBITDA does not reflect cash expenditures, or future requirements for capital expenditures or contractual commitments; EBITDA does not reflect changes in, or cash requirements for, working capital needs; EBITDA does not reflect the significant interest expense, or the cash requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments, on debt; although depreciation and amortization are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized will often have to be replaced in the future, and EBITDA does not reflect any cash requirements for such replacements; EBITDA calculations under the terms of debt agreements may vary from EBITDA presented herein, and our presentation of EBITDA herein is not for purposes of assessing compliance or non-compliance with financial covenants under debt agreements; and other companies in our industry may calculate EBITDA differently from how we do, limiting its usefulness as a comparative measure. As an analytical tool, Adjusted EBITDA is subject to all the limitations applicable to EBITDA. In addition, we prepare Adjusted EBITDA by adjusting EBITDA to eliminate the impact of a number of items we do not consider indicative of ongoing performance, but you should be aware that in the future, expenses similar to the adjustments in this presentation may be incurred. The company's presentation of Adjusted EBITDA should not be construed as an inference that future results will be unaffected by unusual or non-recurring items.

Source: Kraton Performance Polymers

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