30 January 2009 21:34 [Source: ICIS news]
By Joseph Chang
NEW YORK (ICIS news)--US specialty chemicals producer Chemtura has put its crop-protection and petroleum-additive businesses on the selling block, sources in the financial community said on Friday.
“Chemtura’s ag business is being shopped by Merrill Lynch, and petroleum additives by Citigroup,” a source said.
“It’s something of a race, as the company is looking to have at least one deal soon. But if they get good prices for both assets they might sell both,” he added.
Chemtura spokesman John Gustavsen said, "We are exploring potential asset sales."
However, the company would not comment about specific assets, he said.
A Citigroup spokeswoman said the company had no immediate comment.
Merrill Lynch were not immediately available for comment.
Chemtura has $370m (€285m) in debt maturing on 15 July and has been hit by investor concerns about bankruptcy.
Shares of Chemtura closed at 74 cents, up 44%, on the New York Stock Exchange. However, the stock is down substantially from its 52-week high of $8.81.
The sale of the crop-protection business could yield Chemtura between $700m-1bn, sources said.
Through the first three quarters of 2008, Chemtura’s crop-protection chemical segment posted a 58% gain in operating profits to $63m on 17% higher sales of $306m.
Chemtura does not break out results for its petroleum-additives business, which is part of its performance-specialties segment.
Potential buyers include agricultural-chemical players such as Switzerland-based Syngenta, US-based FMC, Japan’s Mitsui Chemicals and Israel’s Makeshtim Agan, sources said.
“Chemtura’s crop-protection business is blessed with more strategic buyers than petroleum additives,” one source said
(Additional reporting by Al Greenwood)
($1 = €0.77)
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