SABIC Raises Clariant Shareholding

05.03.2020 -

In a filing with Saudi Arabia’s Taduwul stock exchange, petrochemicals giant SABIC said it has increased its shareholding in Swiss specialty chemicals producer Clariant from 24.99% to 31.5%. The Saudi group was already Clariant’s largest shareholder.

SABIC said the stock purchase is part of its strategy to achieve a leadership position in  chemical specialties.

The share increase – which comes despite the Saudi group taking an impairment charge of 1.5 billion riyals ($400 million) on its Clariant investment in in the 2019 third quarter – leaves SABIC positioned just below the one-third stake that would require it to make an offer for the entire company.

SABIC said previously said that it had no interest in taking over Clariant completely after shelving plans to create a joint venture in high performance plastics in July last year. The basis for the jv also no longer exists.

Original plans to create a diversified new plastics player foresaw combining Clariant’s market-leading masterbatch, pigments and additives assets with parts of SABIC’s specialties portfolio. Clariant meanwhile has agreed to sell the masterbatch business to US plastics compounder PolyOne for $1.56 billion in a debt-free deal announced in December 2019.

The Basel-based group is still engaged in a search for a new CEO after the abrupt resignation of Ernest Ochiello last July. Chairman and acting CEO Hariolf Kottmann, who returned to the position after Ochiello’s brief stint, told journalists last month that the focus is on finding the right person “as soon as possible, not as fast as possible. Further corporate moves cannot until a new CEO is in place, he added.

Clariant will also soon have a new CFO. Patrick Jany, who has filled the position since 2006, is leaving to join shipping and logistics giant Maersk as finance chief at the beginning of May. Stephan Lyn, who currently leads Clariant’s additives business, will take over the new role on Apr. 1.