logo

Altana buys clay-based additives business from Rockwood Holdings

By: Michael Lauzon

October 4, 2013

WESEL, GERMANY — German specialty chemical producer Altana AG has boosted its clay-based additives stake by completing the acquisition of the clay-based business of Rockwood Holdings Inc.

Altana, of Wesel, paid $635 million for the Rockwood business. The deal was finalized Oct. 1 after being announced in late July.

Clay-based additives can tailor rheological properties, i.e. flow characteristics, of polymers, coatings, personal care products and other formulations.

"The acquisition not only opens up new growth opportunities, it also emphasizes our strategy focusing on profitable growth and is fully in line with all our acquisition criteria," said Altana CEO Matthias Wolfgruber in a news release.

The deal complements Altana's BYK division which makes additives and color-measurement instruments.

"We will for example use the existing BYK structure to grow the acquired rheology business in Asia," predicted BYK Additives and Instruments President Christoph Schlünken.

Altana gets the clay business head office in Austin, Texas, and production sites in Gonzales, Texas; Louisville, Ky.; Widnes, England; and Moosburg, Germany.

About a year ago BYK started building a production plant in Wallingford, Conn. The $47-million project, the company's largest investment at that time outside Germany, is scheduled for completion next year. An official said in October 2012 that the new facility underlines BYK's intention to expand in North America and to make products locally.

BYK's total sales in 2012 were 618.4 million euros, mostly outside Germany. Its additives portfolio is diverse and includes processing aids, rheological additives, UV absorbers, waxes, dispersing agents, nano additives, inorganics and carbon tubes. The acquired clay business had sales of $191.4 million last year. It boosts Altana's employment by 350 to 5,700.

Altana's annual sales exceeded 1.7 billion euros in 2012. It runs 42 production facilities and 50 service and research laboratories around the world.

The clay-based business accounted for about 5 percent of Rockwood's sales. The deal follows by about two weeks Rockwood's announcement it agreed to sell five other non-strategic assets, including its titanium dioxide pigment operations, to Huntsman Corp. in a deal expected to close in the first half of 2014.