Rhodia sells water treatment business to Sweden's Feralco

06 August 2004 11:06  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (CNI)--Swedish specialty chemicals company Feralco said Friday it has bought the potable and waste water treatment business of France's Rhodia.

Feralco said that acquisition of the Euro30m ($36m) turnover business, announced in outline last May, would make it Europe's second largest producer of coagulants behind Finland's Kemira.

The deal, financial terms of which were not disclosed, is the most important in the company's history, according to Feralco managing director Jonas Jung. In addition to more than doubling the company's turnover of about Euro25m, Jung said it will greatly extend Feralco's water treatment chemicals activities in southern Europe and complement its existing, northern Europe focused, activities. 

"Apart from being strategically important to us since products and technology coincide with Feralco’s core business, it gives us access to a huge geographical area in Europe," he stressed. 

Jung told CNI that the acquisition includes production facilities for aluminium sulphate and polyaluminium chloride in France, Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. Rhodia's potable and waste water treatment business has seven production plants, said Jung, with a total capacity of about 350 000 tonne/year.

Feralco, which makes products for water treatment and the pulp and paper industry, has five manufacturing facilities, spread across England, Scotland, Germany and Poland. The five plants have a total capacity of about 250 000 tonne/year, added Jung.

The Rhodia business will boost Feralco's polyaluminium chloride capacity from about 20 000 tonne/year to around 120 000 tonne/year and more than double its aluminium sulphate capacity to approximately 450 000 tonne/year from some 200 000 tonne/year, said Jung.

He described the Rhodia plants as "in good shape". No major investment was planned or needed in the Rhodia business, said Jung, although some small-scale expenditure would be made on technology upgrades and other initiatives to maximise plant efficiency.

Feralco, which will leapfrog Kronos into second place in the European coagulants league, will take on about 30 staff from Rhodia. Jung explained that there were relatively few staff as some of the plants being acquired are operated by third parties.

About 70 people are currently employed by privately-owned Feralco. Formed in January 2001 following the merger of Laporte's and Alcan's water treatment chemical businesses in the UK, Feralco has its headquarters in Helsingborg, Sweden.

The sale of its potable and waste water treatment unit is the latest in a large number of divestments this year by heavily-indebted specialty chemicals company Rhodia. In April it announced the disposal of its European phosphates business to Dutch-headquartered phosphorous group Thermphosbusiness. This deal followed the divestment of its food ingredients business and Baikowski Chemie stake, transactions which ensured that Rhodia would beat its Euro400m disposals target for the first half of this year.


By: Neil Sinclair
+44 20 8652 3214



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