Resins and chemicals producer Huntsman Corp. plans to become a public company.
The Salt Lake City firm said Sept. 13 it plans an initial public offering of stock this year. It will use most of the proceeds to pay down debt. The company expects current shareholders to participate in the offering. Huntsman did not say immediately which stock exchange it will use.
Polyurethane and related precursor chemicals are Huntsman's largest polymers business. Those segments accounted for $733.9 million in sales and $100 million of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the firm's second quarter, ended June 30.
Other polymers, including polyethylene, polypropylene and expandable polystyrene, represented sales of $324.2 million and profit of $200,000 in the same period. Total sales, including titanium dioxide, detergent raw materials and other chemicals, reached $2.8 billion for the quarter.
With respect to Hunstman's polyolefins business, now is a good time to go to the stock market with an IPO, according to Pat Duke, an analyst with DeWitt & Co. of Houston.
``There is a window of profitability in commodity polymers through 2006,'' Duke said in a telephone interview. Companies have a few years in which to restructure and strengthen their resin businesses before the next downturn for the plastics industry, he predicted.
Huntsman will boost its polyolefins profile by building a large production plant for low density PE in Wilton, England, due to begin operating in 2007.
Huntsman's shareholders include the founding family and New York investment firm MaitlinPatterson Global Opportunities.
The polymer businesses are spread among several operating subsidiaries of the overall parent company, Huntsman Holdings LLC.