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Rhône to Acquire ASK Chemicals, a JV Company of Clariant & Ashland

Published on 2014-04-09. Author : SpecialChem

Muttenz/Covington, KY -- Clariant, one of the world leader in specialty chemicals, and Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) entered into a definitive agreement to sell their joint venture, ASK Chemicals headquartered in Hilden, Germany, to investment funds affiliated with Rhône, a London and New York-based private equity investment firm.

The enterprise value of the transaction before debt and assumed liabilities amounts to CHF 310 million (EUR 257 million). After adjusting for debt and assumed liabilities, total pre-tax proceeds to the sellers will be approximately CHF 180 million (EUR 149 million), which includes CHF 155 million (EUR 128 million) in cash and a CHF 25 million (EUR 21 million) buyer note. Proceeds will be split evenly between Ashland and Clariant under terms of the 50/50 joint venture.

The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter 2014 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

With 1,800 employees in 25 countries ASK Chemicals is a leading foundry chemicals manufacturer. Its portfolio encompasses an exceptionally broad and innovative range of foundry resources such as binders, coatings, feeders, filters and release agents, as well as metallurgical products including inoculants, inoculation wires and master alloys for iron casting. In full-year 2013 ASK Chemicals generated revenues of EUR 513 million.

"The divestment of our stake in ASK Chemicals is part of our continuous active portfolio management to reallocate capital towards our more profitable growth areas," said Hariolf Kottmann, CEO of Clariant. "In the joint venture we have successfully combined the activities of Ashland and former Süd-Chemie businesses. Now we release it to a new owner who will focus on growth perspectives."

"The sale of Ashland's equity interest in ASK Chemicals will allow us to focus on our core specialty chemicals business as we reposition the company for sustained sales and profit growth," said James J. O'Brien, Ashland chairman and chief executive officer. "At the same time, the divestiture will give ASK Chemicals an opportunity for new investment as it works to build on its position as a leading foundry chemicals manufacturer."

Rhône commented: "We are proud to succeed Ashland and Clariant in the stewardship of ASK Chemicals. We are excited to be partnering with ASK Chemicals' management team, and look forward to working with them to further develop the business in this new phase of ASK's expansion, leveraging on its leading technology platform, long standing customer relationships, global manufacturing base and talented personnel."

About Clariant

Clariant is a globally leading specialty chemicals company, based in Muttenz near Basel/Switzerland. On December 31, 2013 the company employed a total workforce of 18,099. In the financial year 2013, Clariant recorded sales of CHF 6.076 billion for its continuing businesses. The company reports in four business areas: Care Chemicals, Catalysis & Energy, Natural Resources, and Plastics & Coatings. Clariant's corporate strategy is based on four pillars: managing businesses for profitability, research & development and innovation, growth in emerging markets, and repositioning of the portfolio.

About Ashland Inc.

In more than 100 countries, the people of Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) provide the specialty chemicals, technologies and insights to help customers create new and improved products for today and sustainable solutions for tomorrow. Our chemistry is at work every day in a wide variety of markets and applications, including architectural coatings, automotive, construction, energy, food and beverage, personal care, pharmaceutical, tissue and towel, and water treatment. Visit ashland.com to see the innovations we offer through our four commercial units - Ashland Specialty Ingredients, Ashland Water Technologies, Ashland Performance Materials and Ashland Consumer Markets.

About ASK Chemicals

ASK Chemicals is one of the world's largest suppliers of foundry chemicals, with a comprehensive product and service portfolio of binders, coatings, feeders, filters and release agents, as well as metallurgical products including inoculants, inoculation wires and master alloys for iron casting. ASK Chemicals is represented in 25 countries with 30 sites, 20 of which operate their own production, and employs approx. 1,800 people worldwide. With research and development in Europe, America and Asia, ASK Chemicals sees itself as the driving force behind industry-specific innovations and is committed to offering customers a consistently high level of quality. Flexibility, quickness, quality and sustainability as well as cost-effective products and services are of key importance.

About Rhône

Rhône, established in 1996, is a global private equity firm with a focus on investments in market leading businesses with a pan-European or transatlantic presence and expansion prospects. Rhône's investment philosophy includes the development of strong, strategic partnerships with the companies in which it invests. Rhône has offices in London and New York and currently holds investments in a diversified portfolio of companies, including investments in the chemicals, consumer products, food, industrial, materials, mining and shipping industries.

Source: Clariant


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