EU Attaches Strings to Solvay’s Cytec Buy

07.12.2015 -

The European Commission has approved Solvay’s proposed acquisition of Cytec Industries on the condition that the Belgian chemical producer divests its activities in phosphor-based solvent extraction, used to separate cobalt from nickel.

Although the companies’ activities are largely complementary, both parties make specialty chemicals for the mining and refining industry. In this market, Solvay sells Ionquest 290 and Cytec sells Cyanex 272.

The EU investigation found that the merger would eliminate significant competition in the market for phosphor-based solvent extractants. The Commission said customers in the global refining industry would have little purchasing alternative as competitors were small and their products’ reputations were not as strong as Solvay’s and Cytec’s, which could ultimately lead to price increases.

To fulfill the conditions, Solvay has agreed to sell its Ionquest brand and all related intellectual property rights. The group will also transfer technology and supply manufacturing support, as well as provide a transitional toll manufacturing agreement for Ionquest 290 until the purchaser sets up its own production line. Lastly, Solvay will transfer all customer contracts, purchase history and related information.

Solvay also has launched a €1.5 billion rights issue to complete funding for the Cytec acquisition. Under the rights issue, more than 21 million new shares will be offered at a price of €70.83 per new share, with preference rights for existing shareholders at a ratio of 1 new share for 4 rights.

The subscription period runs from Dec. 5 to Dec. 15 2015. Results of the offering are expected to be announced on or around Dec. 17.