All Signals Point to ”Go” for new Plastics Firm

16.02.2023 - With merger clearance granted by India this week, nothing now stands in the way of plans by German chemical producer Lanxess and private equity investor Advent International to create a 40:60 joint venture for high performance engineering plastics with annual sales of around €300 million.

The companies said they now expect to close the deal by the beginning of April at the latest. The European Commission gave its blessing on Jan. 9 with little fanfare.

After announcing plans for the JV at the end of January last year, the future partners provided more details in October, while confirming former Ineos manager Calum McLean as CEO and Stephen Bennett, who comes from outside the sector, as CFO. The new firm will be based in Germany, close to the Dutch border.

The carefully constructed deal bundles the Lanxess high performance materials (HPM) business together with that of DSM’S engineering plastics unit under the private equity banner of Advent, which in May 2022 paid roughly €3.7 billion to acquire the Dutch activities.

The bulk of the JV’s polymer slate will consist of PA 6.6. Lanxess also produces PBT, and the DSM business has a small range of other PA specialties.

As part of the ownership realignment that foresees Lanxess receiving an initial payment of €1.1 billion from Advent, the Cologne-based company will no longer consolidate its plastics assets. Day-to-day operations of the new player, for which a name has not yet been revealed, will be financed through equity from Advent and external debt.

Lanxess intends to use proceeds from the transaction to pay down debt and strengthen its balance sheet as well as stemming a share buyback program of up to €300 million. Three years after the handover completes, it will have the option to sell its stake to its partner at the same valuation.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist