Big oleochemical updates

Big merger and acquisition news in the land of fats and oils-based chemicals (or what the industry calls oleochemicals).

Last week, there was rumor floating around that BASF is looking to buy specialty chemicals company Cognis, which already shed its commodity oleochemicals business (now called Emery Oleochemicals) to both Malaysian Sime Darby and Thailand-based PTT Chemical.

ICIS Chemical Business, by the way, just published an article about Emery Oleochemicals and what they are up to this year.

Cognis, however, is still a big consumer of oleochemical products fatty acid, alcohol and glycerin. According to Financial Times, BASF’s supervisory board has approved a bid worth around €3.0bn ($3.8bn) for Cognis, paving the way for an official offer in coming days. Cognis is owned by a group of private equity firms advised by Permira and Goldman Sachs.

Croda’s news selling its German oleochemicals business to Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) is not a rumor by the way. Croda said it sold its German oleochemicals business for €60.5m to KLK Emmerich, a subsidiary of KLK Group.

Croda said the disposal completes the company’s restructuring of its oleochemical operations following the acquisition of Uniqema in 2006. Last year, Croda closed its 100,000 tonne/year UK fatty acid and glycerin plant, and in 2008, sold its US oleochemical business (now called Vantage Oleochemicals) to private equity firm HIG Capital.

KLK, on the other hand, has been very busy expanding its oleochemical-related activities in Europe. KLK acquired Switzerland-based alkoxylation company Dr. W. Kolb in 2007.

[Photo source: ICIS Chemical Business]

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