Lucite hires advisers for potential sale, IPO

08 September 2008 16:22  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--UK acrylics producer Lucite has hired Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch to examine options of a possible sale or initial public offering (IPO) amid media reports over two $2bn (€1.4bn) takeover bids, it said on Monday.

 

Earlier the Financial Times reported that Lucite had received offers of around $2bn (€1.4bn) from both Japan’s Mitsubishi Rayon and Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem).

 

The potential sale comes as Lucite prepares to launch a new 120,000 tonne/year methyl methacrylate (MMA) facility in Singapore, using the proprietary Alpha process technology.

 

“We were clear at the time of the refinancing that, once Alpha was proven, we would examine the options of either an IPO or sale at the end of 2008 or 2009,” UK-headquartered Lucite said in a statement.  

 

“We are very pleased with the progress made on Alpha. The project remains on plan and the plant will be operational by the end of 2008,” it said.

 

Initially developed by ICI, the process uses ethylene, carbon monoxide and methanol as raw materials instead of conventional materials such as acetone, hydrocyanic acid and isobutylene, saving 40% in construction costs, according to Lucite.

 

Lucite attempted an IPO or sale in 2006, but the process stalled because shareholders believed the offers on the table undervalued the business.

 

Lucite is 85% owned by private equity group Charterhouse, with UK chemicals group INEOS holding about 12%.

 

($1 = €0.70)

 

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By: Mark Watts
+44 20 8652 3214



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