Elix Polymers Sold to China's Sinochem

18.10.2018 -

Private equity group Sun European Partners, an affiliate of US-based Sun Capital Partners, has agreed to sell Elix Polymers to Chinese chemical giant Sinochem. The Tarragona, Spain-based company produces pre-colored ABS resins, derivatives and specialties for a variety of markets in the healthcare, automotive and consumer sectors.

Terms of the deal, which faces anti-trust scrutiny, were not disclosed. Private equity intelligence website Unquote, however, estimated that the sale of the ABS producer was agreed at an enterprise value of €195 million.

Originally part of Monsanto, which developed the styrenics specialty, the business with a current production capacity of 180,000 t/y has changed owners three more times in two decades. Bought by Bayer in the mid-1990s, the German chemical group a decade later carved it out into the newly created Lanxess, which subsequently passed it on to Ineos.

As part of BASF’s deal with Ineos to take a 50% in its Styrolution styrenics arm in 2011 the company a year later ended up in the hands of private equity and was rebranded as Elix. With an injection of cash, the new owner is reported to have improved the bottom line.

Speaking at the Fakuma packaging trade fair in Friedrichshafen, Germany, Elix’ business director Carlos Mueller suggested that the takeover was loosely aligned with the ABS producer’s strategy to expand its activities in Asia, a region in which it is currently underrepresented. At the same time, it could also boost Sinochem’s presences in the plastics industry beyond trading.

Mueller also hinted at longer-term plans by Elix to establish a Chinese compounding base. In the meantime, he said, the company intends to concentrate on increasing capacity utilization at Tarragona. After debottlenecking last year, in June of this year it announced a €4 million expansion of ABS powder production, due to be completed during 2019.