Celanese AG and Wacker-Chemie GmbH have signed a letter of intent to sell their vinyl resin joint venture to private equity firm Advent International Corp. of Boston. The venture, Vinnolit Kunststoff GmbH of Ismaning, Germany, is Europe's fourth-largest PVC producer. Terms were not disclosed.
Advent also has a preliminary agreement to buy Vintron GmbH from a Celanese subsidiary, Celanese Chemicals Europe GmbH. Vintron supplies vinyl chloride monomer to Vinnolit.
The two deals make Advent a bigger player in the rapidly consolidating European PVC industry.
Advent already has an interest in PVC — last year the company was an investor in the purchase of Marl, Germany-based resin producer Vestolit GmbH & Co. KG from Degussa Huls AG.
A spokesman in Advent's London office said it was too early to talk about plans for Vinnolit or Vintron, or to predict when the deal would close. He also stressed that Advent's share of Vestolit is very small.
Vinnolit, which has annual capacity of 1.3 billion pounds, ranks ninth in worldwide PVC production. It has four plants in Germany. Vintron's VCM plant in Knapsack, Germany, currently is more than doubling capacity to 727 million pounds per year.
Advent has ownership stakes in other plastics-related companies, including industrial polymer and resin producer BIP Plastics Ltd. of Birmingham, England. BIP makes polyester molding compounds, engineering thermoset and thermoplastic resins and amino molding powder. Its subsidiaries include Florida Chem Polymer Corp. of Fort Myers, Fla., and operations in Britain and Mexico.
In addition, Advent has interests in the Singapore-based medical catheter manufacturer Biosensors International Pte. Ltd.; Forester Manufacturing Co., a Wilton, Maine, maker of plastic cutlery, toothpicks and clothespins; and Pembinaan Jayabumi Sarawak Bhd., a maker of fiberglass sewage tanks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Celanese is focusing on core activities including acetate and acetal products, technical polymers and chemical intermediates.