Clariant, a world leader in specialty chemicals, and Ashland Inc. (NYSE: ASH) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement to sell their joint venture, ASK Chemicals headquartered in Hilden, Germany, to investment funds affiliated with Rhône, a London and New York-based private equity investment firm.
The enterprise value of the transaction before debt and assumed liabilities amounts to CHF 310 million (EUR 257 million). After adjusting for debt and assumed liabilities, total pre-tax proceeds to the sellers will be approximately CHF 180 million (EUR 149 million), which includes CHF 155 million (EUR 128 million) in cash and a CHF 25 million (EUR 21 million) buyer note. Proceeds will be split evenly between Ashland and Clariant under terms of the 50/50 joint venture.
The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter 2014 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.
With 1,800 employees in 25 countries ASK Chemicals is a leading foundry chemicals manufacturer. Its portfolio encompasses an exceptionally broad and innovative range of foundry resources such as binders, coatings, feeders, filters and release agents, as well as metallurgical products including inoculants, inoculation wires and master alloys for iron casting. In full-year 2013 ASK Chemicals generated revenues of EUR 513 million.
“The divestment of our stake in ASK Chemicals is part of our continuous active portfolio management to reallocate capital towards our more profitable growth areas,”said Hariolf Kottmann, CEO of Clariant. “In the joint venture we have successfully combined the activities of Ashland and former Süd-Chemie businesses. Now we release it to a new owner who will focus on growth perspectives.”
“The sale of Ashland’s equity interest in ASK Chemicals will allow us to focus on our core specialty chemicals business as we reposition the company for sustained sales and profit gr owth ,” said James J .O’Brien, Ashland chairman and chief executive officer. “At the same time, the divestiture will give ASK Chemicals an opportunity for new investment as it works to build on its position as a leading foundry chemicals manufacturer.
Rhône commented: "We are proud to succeed Ashland and Clariant in the stewardship of ASK Chemicals. We are excited to be partnering with ASK Chemicals’ management team, and look forward to working with them to further develop the business in this new phase of ASK's expansion, leveraging on its leading technology platform, long standing customer relationships, global manufacturing base and talented personnel."