A source close to the purchase of US Dow’s Styron business unit by private equity group, Bain Capital, tells me that there was not a huge amount of detail available to potential purchasers in the run up to the sale.
The fact that Bain Capital went ahead with the purchase, despite this lack of detail, shows just how much confidence Bain must have in the recovery of M&A in chemicals, according to the source. Bain must have real confidence that their business plan – plus a global economic and chemical-industry recovery – will allow them to exit with a handsome return on investment.
In fact, the source went further and said the purchase indicates that “recklessness” may be returning to chemicals M&A. During the run up to the financial crisis, chemical-company valuations exploded as in a boom fueled by private-equity funds. Trade buyers could hardly get a look in, it sometimes seemed.
Some high profile bankruptcies since then have proven how reckless this behaviour was. Let’s hope those days do not return.