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Clariant begins 2020 sale plan with search for pigments buyer

By
Reuters
Published
today Jan 9, 2019
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Switzerland’s Clariant has begun the sale of its pigments business as part of wider a streamlining which it has said it will complete by the end of 2020, sources said.

Reuters


Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) bought a 25 percent stake in Clariant last year, ending a dispute between the Swiss company and U.S.-based activist investor White Tale which scuttled a planned merger with U.S.-based Huntsman Corp.

Clariant has mandated Deutsche Bank to find a buyer for the pigments business, which could be valued at around 800 million Swiss Francs (£642.5 million), the sources told Reuters, adding that private equity firms were likely buyers.

Saudi Arabia’s Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) bought a 25 percent stake in Clariant last year, ending a dispute between the Swiss company and U.S.-based activist investor White Tale which scuttled a planned merger with U.S.-based Huntsman Corp.

Clariant has mandated Deutsche Bank to find a buyer for the pigments business, which could be valued at around 800 million Swiss Francs (£642.5 million), the sources told Reuters, adding that private equity firms were likely buyers.

Clariant, which began carving out its plastics and coatings business for eventual disposal four years ago, and Deutsche Bank both declined to comment on Wednesday.

Clariant moved what was then a unit with 2.6 billion francs in annual sales, with products including plastic colourings, additives and pigments, into a separate subsidiary, sparking speculation about the company’s future.

In 2017, Clariant announced a planned merger with Huntsman, only to have this derailed by White Tale, whose owners instead suggested the Swiss firm consider selling off plastics and coatings and review all alternatives for the rest.

Clariant said White Tale, whose principals included hedge fund manager Keith Meister, wanted to break it up.

In September, Clariant announced it would combine activities like additives and higher-value speciality masterbatches with parts of SABIC’s speciality chemicals in a new joint venture called High Performance Materials.

That left Clariant’s remaining Plastics & Coatings activities including pigments, standard masterbatches and medical specialties, businesses with 2017 revenues of 1.56 billion Swiss francs, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of 182 million francs.

While pigments, with roughly 100 million Swiss francs in core earnings, are first in line, the other two units are going to be put on the block at a later stage, the sources said.

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