Markets & Companies

2017 Through the Rear-view Mirror

Part 4: Distributors Proactive in M&A

08.01.2018 -

The year just ended was marked by a flood of M&A activity also in the distribution sector. Leading the way, German giant Brenntag said it planned to acquire all shares of specialty chemicals distributor Wellstar Enterprises (Hong Kong), along with its three Chinese subsidiaries in the Wellstar Group. The distributor said it would take the majority stake of 51% immediately and the remaining 49% by 2021. In the interim, the business will be operated as a joint venture.

Almost simultaneously, Brenntag announced it had acquired the pipeline and chemicals services business segment of Greene’s Energy Group, headquartered in Houston, Texas, USA. The news came only a day after it said it was expanding its North American mixing and blending business with the purchase of another US business, Petra Industries, located in Fairmont City, Illinois.

As the year’s end approached, the German distributor announced a flurry of deals, among them  an agreement to take over India’s Raj Petro Specialties, a distributor of petroleum-related products headquartered in Mumbai and Chennai, in stages. This acquisition is planned to be finalized from April 2018.

Almost simultaneously, the German distribution major also concluded a second deal, to acquire Conquimica, a distributor headquartered in Medellin, Colombia. The Latin American company mostly provides industrial and specialty chemicals to the coatings, food and cleaning industries and operates four warehouses in Colombia.

Late in 2017, Luxembourg-based Azelis acquired Georges Walther, a family-owned specialty chemicals distributor based in Pfäffikon, Switzerland, for an undisclosed sum. Most of the acquired firm’s revenue is derived from cosmetic ingredients, essential oils and fragrances. This was Azelis’ fourth acquisition in 2017, after buying US distributor Ross Organic, Denmark’s LCH and Chemcolour, based in Australia and New Zealand.

Univar, US distribution major based in Illinois, acquired Paulinia, Sao Paolo-based distributor Tagma Brasil for an undisclosed sum, expanding its presence in the agricultural market. Tagma is a leading provider of custom formulation and packaging services for crop protection chemicals, including herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and surfactants. Also in 2017, Univar’s wholly-owned subsidiaries in Sweden and Norway agreed to acquire Kemetyl Industrial Chemicals for an undisclosed sum.

The Plaza Group, a US chemical marketer and distributor based in Houston, Texas, said it planned to buy Dallas, Texas-headquartered Conchemco. The Dallas firm markets and distributes chemicals and solvents such acetone, toluene, xylene and other major aromatic and aliphatic hydrocarbons.

German specialty chemicals distributor Bodo Möller Chemie announced it had established subsidiaries in Mexico and USA in a move aimed at further strengthening its international presence.

IMCD, the Dutch specialty chemicals distributor, purchased Bossco Industries of the US. Based in Houston, Texas, Bossco supplies products and technical solutions to all major industrial market segments in US Southwest. In another North American acquisition, IMCD took over Canadian and US specialty chemicals and ingredients distributor L.V. Lomas. In Italy, it bought specialty chemical distributor Neuvendis, based in Milan. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed for any of the transactions.

AMVAC Netherlands, a wholly owned subsidiary of US specialty and agricultural products company American Vanguard, said it intended to acquire Grupo Agricenter, a Costa Rica-based distributor of crop protection products.

In Italy, performance additives producer Italmatch Chemicals boosted its presence in Latin America with the purchase of Sudamfos do Brasil, a leading Brazilian distribution company specializing in phosphonates, phosphates and other specialty chemicals.

To read more about the important events of 2017, click on the links below.