Air Products and Evonik Close to Performance Materials Deal?

18.03.2016 -

Air Products & Chemicals is in advanced talks to sell its performance materials business to Evonik Industries, news agencies have reported.

A deal for the business, called Versum, said to be worth more than $3.5 billion, could be reached in the coming weeks.

The purchase of the Air Products business, should it proceed, would be one of the largest in Evonik’s history. The German specialty chemicals producer is said to have lots of cash and has previously voiced its wish to do a big acquisition to gain size and improve margins.

“Evonik is looking for less cyclical, asset-light chemistry targets, and Versum Performance Materials would fit this picture,” Reuters quotes UBS analyst Patrick Rafaisz as saying in a note to clients.

Versum was selected by Air Products as the new name for its Materials Technologies business in November last year, following the announcement of plans to spin off the business into a publicly traded company by September 2016.

Materials Technologies, with sales of just over $2 billion in 2015, houses the performance materials business. Its remaining operations, which supply the semi-conductor industry, would not be part of the deal and could be sold separately, some sources said.

According to Rafaisz, Evonik could finance a deal with Air Products without tapping equity markets, considering its net cash position of $1.07 billion and annual EBITDA of more than $2.3 billion.