US Chemtura still pursuing stalled India bromine acquisition

25 February 2014 16:14  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Chemtura has not yet been able to close its planned acquisition of the bromine assets of India’s Solaris Chemtech - well over a year after first announcing the deal in 2012, the CEO of the US-based specialty chemicals firm said on Tuesday.

However, Chemtura continues to pursue Solaris, and it is also interested in possible bolt-on acquisitions in the petroleum additives sector, Craig Rogerson said.

“We want to get [Solaris] done, but there are legal hurdles, political hurdles, there’s all kinds of stuff going on in India right now,” Rogerson told analysts during Chemtura’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

Chemtura announced the Solaris deal in September 2012, hoping at the time to complete it by the end of that year. However, the deal later stalled because of difficulties in obtaining approvals for land lease transfers from authorities in India’s Gujarat state.

Rogerson added that Chemtura was exploring alternatives, “because we need more bromine”.

He also said that despite its recent divestments and plans to sell its agricultural business, Chemtura would be interested in bolt-on acquisitions, or even a bigger deal.

While Chemtura’s industrial engineered products business was focused on Solaris or alternatives, its industrial performance products [IPP] business was actively looking at smaller acquisition opportunities, primarily in the petroleum additives sector, the CEO said.

"IPP has a very robust pipeline, looking at acquisition targets of the bolt-on variety, ranging in size from very small to, I don't know, to $200m, something like that," he said.

At the same time, Rogerson would not rule out "bigger things as well".

"There are things that make a lot of sense, and we clearly are open to those,” he said without disclosing what kind of a bigger deal may interest Chemtura.

Rogerson added that bigger deals were “much harder for us to find, and we are naturally, I would say, conservative, coming out of the history of Chemtura”.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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