UpdateAccess agrees to buy Huntsman for $9.6bn

26 June 2007 16:55  [Source: ICIS news]

Jon Huntsman - founder of Huntsman Corporation(Adds detail throughout)

LONDON (ICIS news)--Basell’s parent group Access Industries has agreed to acquire US chemicals producer Huntsman for $9.6bn (€7.1bn) including debt through its polyolefins producer Basell, the companies said on Tuesday.

The $25.25/share transaction would be subject to regulatory approval in the US and Europe and the approval of Huntsman shareholders.

Entities controlled by MatlinPatterson and the Huntsman family, who collectively own 57% of Huntsman’s common stock, have agreed to approve the transaction.

Closing is expected in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Chairman Jon Huntsman said the company would use the proceedings to further the family's charity work, including finding cures for cancer.

Huntsman Group CEO Peter Huntsman told ICIS news in an interview that the family could receive $1.5bn from the transaction.

In 2006, Basell and Huntsman had revenues of more than $26bn and employed around 20,900 people.

Huntsman, which is run from Salt Lake City and Houston, is the world's biggest maker of epoxy adhesives and has a wide portfolio including performance products, polyurethanes, pigments and advanced materials.

Huntsman reported disappointing first-quarter profits with adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) falling 11% to $259.7m.

However, CEO Peter Huntsman told ICIS news last month that the company was poised for a significantly stronger second half driven by strong MDI (methylene di-p-phenylene isocyanate) demand.

Basell is owned by billionaire investor Leonard Blavatnik's Access Industries and is a global leader in polypropylene (PP) production, polyolefins technology and catalysts.

In the first quarter, Basell’s reported EBITDA increased to €374m ($505m) from €209m from the corresponding period in 2006 driven by improved conditions for PP in the US.

“This transaction enhances our position as a global industrial group with long-term strategic assets in the chemicals industry,” Blavatnik said in the statement.

Huntsman shares rose to $24.27 in early morning trading in the US, up nearly 30% from Monday’s close.

($1 = €0.74)


By: Mark Watts
+44 20 8652 3214



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