US investment group Blackstone in Euro3.1bn friendly bid for Germany's Celanese

16 December 2003 10:05  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (CNI)--US investment firm Blackstone Capital Partners (BCP) on Tuesday launched an agreed bid for Celanese which values the German commodity chemicals group at Euro3.1bn ($3.8bn).

The Euro32.5 per share offer, which represents an 11% premium over Monday's closing price, is backed by Celanese's management and has already been accepted by Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, which is the company's largest shareholder with a 29% stake.

   Claudio Sonder
Celanese chief executive Claudio Sonder said in a statement that Blackstone’s offer reflected a focused effort on value creation.

"Restructuring measures coupled with extensive portfolio optimisation and a focus on strong cash generation have positioned the company to consider broader growth options," he added. “We will continue on our path to growth and productivity. We believe that Blackstone as a strong partner will provide Celanese with financial strength to realise opportunities.”

In unveiling the bid, Blackstone said it supported the strategic and restructuring initiatives underway at Celanese. Blackstone, which is part of a consortium which recently bought the Nalco water treatment business for $4.3bn and is an investor in the US Huntsman group, said it will honour Celanese's commitment to positive employee relations as well as the German system of co-determination.

As a financial investor, Blackstone indicated it will not assume operating responsibilities, but will work with Celanese’s management team.

“Celanese has today reached another milestone in its short history," said Sonder. "My colleagues on the board of management and I have examined very carefully the merits of this proposal for all stakeholders and we support it.”

The proposed offer is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals. In accordance with German takeover law, Blackstone has four weeks to prepare an offer document describing the details of the offer to shareholders. Following review by the German regulator Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin), Blackstone said it intends to publish the offer document and launch the tender offer.

By: Neil Sinclair
+44 20 8652 3214

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