Solvay's Danisco Bid Unsuccessful

13.01.2011 -

Belgian chemicals group Solvay made a bid for Danish food ingredients and enzymes group Danisco but lost in the auction to DuPont, Denmark's Borsen newspaper reported on Wednesday.

U.S. chemicals group DuPont agreed at the weekend to acquire Danisco for $5.8 billion in cash, and Danisco said on Monday several potential buyers had shown interest, though it did not identify them.

Financial daily Borsen said that cash-rich Solvay had kick-started the Danisco sale process by submitting an "attractive bid" for Danisco before Christmas.

"According to Borsen's information, Solvay knocked on the door of Danisco's boardroom before Christmas and delivered an unknown bid for the whole Danish company," Borsen said, citing an anonymous source familiar with the deal.

Solvay's spokesman declined to comment. Danisco also declined to comment.

Solvay has been sitting on €4.5 billion in cash since completing the sale of its pharmaceuticals unit to Abbott Laboratories in February last year.

"We have always said we will reinvest the cash in industrial assets, and that strategy is still valid," Solvay's spokesman Erik De Leye said.

Borsen said that Solvay's offer had been attractive enough to get Danisco chairman Jorgen Tandrup to engage Deutsche Bank to test the ground among a limited number of potential buyers, including DuPont.

Borsen said other industrial players that were probably contacted were Dow Chemical, Cargill and Dutch group DSM.

"There was no private equity fund involved in the process," the newspaper's source said.

News of DuPont's move to acquire Danisco sparked some speculation in the market on Monday that another bidder could emerge and try to trump its offer, though some analysts said they expected DuPont to be successful.

The parties to the deal, under which DuPont will also assume $500 million of Danisco debt making the total transaction worth $6.3 billion, have said they expect to close it early in the second quarter.



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