One big deal involving plastic materials made headlines in the first half of 2017, but the market stayed busy with several smaller deals as well.
The headline-grabber came on May 22, when Huntsman Corp. and Clariant International Ltd. announced that they would merge as equal companies through an all-stock transaction by the end of 2017.
The new company will be named HuntsmanClariant and will have annual sales of about $13.2 billion. Peter Huntsman, currently president and CEO of Huntsman, will become CEO of the new company.
Huntsman, based in The Woodlands, Texas, is a world-scale polyurethanes, pigments, advanced materials, performance products and textile effects business. It's in the process of separating its pigments business, including titanium dioxide.
Clariant of Muttenz, Switzerland, was built up through the combination of a number of European chemicals firms. It operates in additives, catalysts, functional materials, industrial and consumer specialties, masterbatches, oil and mining services and pigments.
The two firms had been linked in merger talks for several years. Market analyst Phil Karig said the deal could work out well for both companies.
"With Huntsman just spinning off its titanium dioxide and performance additives business, this was a good time for them to find a partner that could fill some of the void and fit well with their own remaining operations," said Karig, managing director of Mathelin Bay Associates LLC in St. Louis.
The number of materials deals in the first half was down slightly from the same period in 2016, according to P&M Corporate Finance in Southfield, Mich. Based on processing sector, the number of first-half resin/color/compounding deals was 21 — one less than the first half of 2017.
Based on product segment, the number of first-half resin deals declined from 23 in 2016 to 20 this year.
In spite of that trend, some firms were involved in multiple materials deals in the first half. Materials maker PolyOne Corp. completed three deals in the first half, while resin distributor Nexeo Solutions wrapped up a pair.