02 July 2004 10:06 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (CNI)--Finnish chemicals group Kemira said Friday it has agreed to sell its fine chemicals business to European venture capital company 3i for over Euro70m ($85m).
The fine chemicals business, which has production facilities in Kokkola, western Finland, had sales last year of about Euro50m. It employs about 170 people at three locations in Finland, Kokkola, Espoo and Helsinki.
Part of the Kemira's industrial chemicals division, the business produces fine chemicals for industrial uses, mostly for the agriculture and pharmaceutical businesses.
Kemira put the fine chemicals unit up for sale earlier this year after confirming that it was no longer considered a core business.
Its sale, which is subject to regulatory approval, is part of Kemira's strategy of focusing on four core businesses through organic growth and acquisitions. Kemira's growth areas are: pulp and paper chemicals, water treatment chemicals, industrial chemicals, and paints and coatings.
The strategy has also led to the sale, also announced today, of Kemira's engineering activities to PIC Engineering, part of the Swedish SWECO group.
Disengagement from the fine chemicals business is expected to be relatively straightforward for Kemira. In an interview with CNI shortly after the business was put up for sale, Ulf Bjorkqvist, managing director of Kemira Fine Chemicals, said it was already operated relatively independently from the wider Kemira group, making it comparatively easy to divest.
Bjorkqvist said the business specialises in exclusive synthesis for pharmaceutical and agrochemical customers. The Kokkola facilities produce around 2000 to 3000 tonne of fine chemicals a year, he said.
Bjorkqvist added that the business had good growth prospects and there was no immediate need for major capital investment.
The deal will add yet another chemicals business to the growing energy and chemicals portfolio of UK-headquartered 3i. Earlier this year, it acquired a stake in ABB’s upstream oil, gas and petrochemicals business.
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