AkzoNobel in Talks to Sell Specialty Chemicals
AkzoNobel is negotiating with three or four potential buyers of its Specialty Chemicals division, according to media reports. Last month, shareholders approved the proposed separation of the €4.8 billion business allowing the Dutch paints group to pursue a dual strategy of either demerging the division or selling it outright.
Bloomberg news agency said German specialty chemicals company Lanxess is among the four who entered a second round of negotiations earlier this month. Lanxess was likely making a joint bid with US private equity firm Apollo, according to Bloomberg, which also reported that the other interested parties included US hedge fund Carlyle, Dutch buyout firm Hal Investments and a consortium comprised of Advent International and Bain Capital.
AkzoNobel is said to have completed an internal separation of its specialties business, which is now operating independently within the group.
In separate news, the Amsterdam-based company has partnered with Dutch utilities group Gasunie New Energy to investigate the possible large-scale conversion of electricity into green hydrogen via water electrolysis.
A 20 megawatt (MW) water electrolysis unit, said to be the largest in Europe, will be built in Delfzijl, the Netherlands, to convert sustainably produced electricity into 3,000 t/y of green hydrogen – enough to fuel 300 buses. A final decision on the project is expected in 2019.
“The vast majority of the more than 800,000 t of hydrogen used by Dutch industry each year is produced using natural gas. Replacing this by sustainably produced hydrogen will reduce CO2 emissions by seven million t. However, the real potential is in large-scale production as the basis for green chemistry,” said Marcel Galjee, energy director at AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals.
The companies eventually aim to build installations that convert and store hydrogen on an even larger scale, from 100 MW.