Clariant Sees Shareholders as Bulwark Against Takeovers

06.05.2015 -

Swiss specialty chemical producer Clariant is certain that its large shareholders - including those of Süd-Chemie, who hold 14% of the Swiss company's shares will support management's plan to remain independent, CFO Patrick Jany told the news agency Reuters.

In late March, market rumors surfaced that German chemical producer Evonik could be planning to launch a bid to take over Clariant and create a much larger specialty chemicals producer with annual sales of around €20 billion.

The rumors apparently were sparked by Evonik management's remarks that it was looking to add €3 billion in annual sales by 2018 by focusing on products with high barriers to entry and would consider acquisitions to meet the target.

At the time, Evonik and its minority shareholders, the German coal mining drawdown fund RAG with 69% of shares, and private equity investor CVC with 14% - the rest is in free float - declined comment, and Clariant CEO Hariolf Kottmann told the Swiss business newspaper, "The industry knows that we do not want to be taken over."

The Swiss specialty chemicals producer itself has been fairly active on the M&A scene, following up its 2013 acquisition of Süd-Chemie with several other bolt-on deals.

For the first quarter of 2015, Clariant reported a 4% rise in sales from continuing operations denominated in local currencies. In Swiss francs, sales fell 2% to 1.465 billion from 1.492 billion francs. EBITDA before exceptionals receded by the same margin to 206 Swiss francs, and the EBITDA margin before exceptional items was flat at the Q1 2014 level of 14.1%.