How Solvay Will Look After Taking Over Rhodia

Deal Will Create the 7th Largest European Chemicals Group

11.05.2011 -

Belgian chemicals group Solvay said the French financial markets authority has approved their friendly public offer for Rhodia.  Once the authorizations of the Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel and the French Minister of the Economy are granted, the French financial markets authority will publish the timetable of the offer.

Solvay outlined on Tuesday the rationale behind its €3.4 billion bid for French specialty chemicals group Rhodia before formally launching the offer on July 4.

Below is an overview of how the combined group will look:

Deal Dynamics
The deal will create the seventh-largest European chemicals group based on sales behind industry leader BASF, moving Solvay up from its ranking just inside the top 15. The group will have €12 billion in revenue, 90% of which comes from sectors where it has a global top-three ranking.

Solvay's exposure to high-growth markets such as China and Brazil will rise to 40% of sales from 25% and analysts say this exposure means the group should be able to achieve consistent volume growth above global GDP.

Broad Portfolio Spread
Nearly a fifth of Solvay's sales will be generated by consumer goods, 15% from construction, 14% from the automotive industry, 8% from energy, water and environment and 6% from electronics.

Solvay's shares have jumped 18% since the April 4 announcement of a deal that analysts have broadly welcomed as significantly earnings enhancing.

Top Producer Of Soda Ash
Solvay, which competes with India's Tata Chemicals, will retain its world-leading position in the supply of soda ash, a key ingredient in the manufacture of glass.

The company booked a €197 million impairment mainly on its soda ash operations last October because of the weak demand from the construction sector for flat glass. The sluggish sector still affected its forecast-beating first-quarter results and could impede growth in the short term.

Hydrogen Peroxide

The company will be the number one player in hydrogen peroxide, used as a bleach in the pulp and paper industry. Its rivals are Dutch group AkzoNobel, which is stepping up production in high-growth economies such as Brazil, and German group Evonik.

Specialty Polymers
It will occupy a number one or two position in engineering polymers and polyamide intermediates products, used as high-end, strong plastics in the automotive industry.

Solvay and Rhodia are both active in specialty plastics and together will offer materials to make car cooling and heating systems, radiator tanks, engine mounts and fuel systems. Solvay is currently operating at almost full capacity, but is improving efficiency and adding new capacity in what has been one of its most important recent growth drivers.

Consumer Chemicals
Rhodia is the number one player in specialty surfactants, used in shampoos, shower gels, moisturizers, cleansing creams and UV filter creams. Such personal care products are a high-growth area, prompting BASF's takeover of cosmetic additives maker Cognis last year.

Solvay will remain the world number three maker of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), used in construction, behind Japanese rival Shin-Etsu and Taiwan's Formosa Plastics.

Solvay's PVC business has struggled recently due to sluggish European construction markets, increased competition and higher costs, but the firm signaled on Monday that sales volumes had started to improve in northern and Eastern Europe.

Advanced Materials
Rhodia will add its silica and rare earth systems activities to Solvay, products which reduce vehicle weight and produce smooth rubber for wheels to reduce friction and save fuel. The group will be a top-ranked player, with products for electronics such as energy-efficient lights and flat screens.



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