BASF to Buy Chemetall for $3.2 Billion
BASF has announced plans to acquire German surface treatment chemicals specialist Chemetall from US fine chemicals producer Albemarle for $3.2 billion in cash. Albemarle said the debt-free acquisition price is 15.3 times the company’s EBITDA. The transaction expected to close by the end of this year will “significantly enhance” the position of BASF Coatings as a complete solutions provider, the German group said.
Chemetall, headquartered in Frankfurt, became part of Albemarle at the beginning of 2015 with that company’s takeover of Rockwood Holdings for $6.4 billion. It was once a unit of the now defunct Metallgesellschaft conglomerate and belonged to that company’s then-subsidiary, chemical producer Dynamit Nobel.
Commenting on the sale Albemarle CEO Luke Kissam said it reflects the company’s “continued commitment to maximizing shareholder value by investing in the future growth of our high priority businesses, reducing leverage and returning capital to shareholders. “
The Frankfurt company with sales of about $845 million in 2015 employs some 2,500 people worldwide and operates 21 production sites in more than 20 countries. It also has 10 R&D locations and 24 sales offices.
BASF described Chemetall as “one of the strongest globally managed brands in the sector,” with leading market positions in the automotive, aerospace and cold forming segments as well as long-standing, service-intensive customer relationships, significant global presence and track record of strong profitability.
“Chemetall offers a strong strategic fit for our coatings business and supports BASF’s aim to grow profitably in downstream, innovation and solution-focused businesses,” said Wayne Smith, BASF managing member responsible for the Coatings division.
This is the first major acquisition for BASF under CEO Kurt Bock since taking over the reins from Jürgen Hambrecht in May 2011. The group’s last major acquisition was specialty and consumer chemicals producer Cognis in 2010.
Bock has been criticized recently for not pursuing major deals such as Bayer’s proposed takeover of Monsanto, but the CEO has preferred to err on the side of caution, insisting that the group has no need to acquire just for the sake of acquiring.
BASF was expected in some quarters to also make a bid for Monsanto and also rumored to be pursuing a deal with DuPont prior to that company agreement to merge with compatriot Dow Chemical.