Clariant AG's acquisition of the masterbatch business of Ciba Specialty Chemicals AG will end a production-sharing deal that Ciba had with Techmer PM LLC.
Techmer President and Chief Executive Officer John Manuck said his Clinton, Tenn.-based concentrates firm no longer will have access to former Ciba plants in Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and France. Techmer and Ciba had worked together since 2003.
However, Techmer still has access to the Asian market via its alliance with compounder Guangzhou Eastern Rainbow in Guangzhou, China. In Europe, Techmer can make its materials at a plant in Hamburg, Germany, operated by Lehmann & Voss & Co. KG. In 2005, Techmer and Lehmann formed Techmer Lehvoss Compounds LLC, a specialty compounding operation based in Clinton.
Some North American firms wonder if the Clariant-Ciba deal will have any impact on this side of the Atlantic.
``If you're a masterbatch processor or supplier, you have to wonder what's going to happen,'' Manuck said.
In e-mailed responses, Clariant spokesman Rainer Weihofen and Ciba spokesman Thomas Gerlach each said the transaction will not affect North American business.
Muttenz, Switzerland-based Clariant purchased the three-site business for an undisclosed sum. The Ciba unit employs 300 and has annual sales of about 80 million Swiss francs ($64 million).
An executive at another North American concentrates maker said that although he doesn't ``see any real advantage in the deal'' for Clariant, he does not think it will cause North American firms with production in Europe to change their plans.
Another industry executive said Clariant may face regulatory issues in France, where the firm will operate multiple sites and have a major portion of that country's concentrates market.
Clariant ranks as one of the world's largest makers of color concentrates and compounds, and plastics additives. Its masterbatches business is based in Holden, Mass. Clariant's overall sales were $6.2 billion in 2005.
Ciba is based in Basel, Switzerland, with North American headquarters in Tarrytown, N.Y. The firm posted sales of $5.6 billion in 2005.