20 March 2000 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]By Robert Brown
Upon receipt of Federal Trade Commission approval, Rhodia has completed its acquisition of Albright & Wilson, making it the world's leader in specialty phosphates. To gain FTC's consent for the deal, Rhodia will divest Albright & Wilson's merchant phosphoric acid business in the US to Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS), Albright & Wilson's current partner in the business.
As part of the deal with PCS, Rhodia will also divest the US merchant phosphoric acid business of Albright & Wilson, which consists of a purified phosphoric acid plant in Aurora, N.C., and a phosphoric acid blending plant in Cincinnati, Ohio. That business has annual sales of $50 million to $60 million. Rhodia will maintain its own merchant phosphoric acid position.
"This acquisition furthers our strategy of increasing the percentage of non-fertilizer business in our phosphate product mix and takes advantage of our competitive position as the low-cost P2O5 producer," says Bill Doyle, president and CEO of PCS.
Also as part of the deal, Rhodia will integrate the polyphosphoric acid, potassium phosphate and phosphate salts businesses that were previously conducted by PCS and A&W.
The purchase of A&W came as Rhodia narrowed its portfolio to concentrate on specialty chemicals. "The acquisition of Albright & Wilson is a major step forward in the young history of Rhodia and corresponds to our strategy of focusing our business portfolio on specialty chemicals and capturing front-ranking positions in the international market," says Jean-Pierre Tirouflet, chairman and CEO of Rhodia.
"Albright & Wilson is an excellent fit with Rhodia in terms of geographic presence, product range and technology, with estimated recurring synergies of some á80 million ($77 million) as of 2002."
Rhodia's acquisition of A&W came at the same time that FMC Corporation and Solutia Inc. announced their formation of Astaris, a 50-50 phosphorus joint venture with more than $600 million in sales.
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