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Solvay offers to buy conductive polymer maker in Chapter 11

January 17, 2014

Solvay SA has bid $32.6 million for Plextronics Inc., a printed electronics maker that filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors on Jan. 16.

Brussels-based Solvay — a global plastics and chemicals firm — is part-owner of Pittsburgh-based Plextronics. Solvay invested $15 million in 2011 in Plextronics, which in 2002 had been spun off from research done at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

According to the bankruptcy court filing, Solvay had looked at buying Plextronics back in 2010, but Solvay’s board did not approve the proposed deal.

Plextronics filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. The firm claimed assets of $3 million vs. $33 million in debt.

Products developed by Plextronics included light emitting diodes and organic photovoltaic cells for use in flat-panel screen displays and other applications. Conductive polymers were being used in this work, which aimed to improve the performance and manufacturing costs of electronic devices.

Solvay officials could not be reached for comment. Other investors in Plextronics included technology firm Universal Display Corp., state-sponsored investment firm Innovation Works and several private equity firms.