US Rockwood seeks M&A after divesting seven businesses

12 November 2013 22:04  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Rockwood is poised to expand after divesting seven non-strategic businesses this year, the US-based specialty chemicals firm said on Tuesday.

“We will use our strong balance sheet to drive growth in our core businesses,” CEO Seifi Ghasemi said during the company’s Q3 earning call.

He added that Rockwood aims to make purchases that are immediately accretive to its focal lithium applications (excluding potash) and surface treatment businesses, but Ghasemi was intentionally vague about targets and whether those targets would be domestic or otherwise.

Ghasemi announced during the call that Rockwood’s board had approved a new share-repurchase program of up to $500m (€375m) over the next two years, then conceded that there are more acquisition opportunities within the surface treatment market than in the lithium business, which is more consolidated.

He said the company remains bullish about both markets, but especially the lithium battery market.

“We actually see that growth accelerating because of hand tools and the transportation sector,” Ghasemi said. “It doesn’t take a lot of electric cars to push the volumes up.”

Rockwood’s divestitures include its advanced ceramics and clay-based additives businesses as well as its titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigments, color pigments and services, timber treatment chemicals, rubber/thermoplastics compounding and water chemistry businesses, though not all of the transactions have closed.

In September, Rockwood agreed to sell its TiO2 and performance additives businesses to Huntsman. That deal is expected to close within the first half of 2014.

Rockwood previously reported a third-quarter net income gain, largely on the divestment of its advanced ceramics business.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Larry Terry
1 713 525 2653

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