Hoechst sells Trevira to Koch/Mexican team

Author: Grace Williams

1998/04/22

LONDON (CNI)--Hoechst confirmed Wednesday it is selling its worldwide polyester business Trevira to a new consortium between Kosa Ltd, a subsidiary of Koch Industries of the US, and Mexico's Grupo Xtra. Rumours of the deal were reported by CNI in January.

The new company will have a turnover of around $3bn and will be one of the world's largest polyester producers, with over 12 000 employees. It has manufacturing sites in Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, US, Mexico, China and Turkey. Regional headquarters will remain in Charlotte, North Carolina, US; Toluca, Mexico and Frankfurt, Germany.

A spokesman for the consortium said the final number of employees in the new company had still to be decided, but job losses were not envisaged. "The intention is to keep the manufacturing plants open and to grow the business," he said. No decision has been taken on whether the new company will keep the Trevira name.

The acquisition does not include Hoechst's polyester film operations, Trevira South Africa, its ethylene oxide/ethylene glycol business, its western European polyester textile fibre operations or its acrylonitrile business.

Hoechst announced last week that it would sell its share of the polyester film business, known as Diafoil, to its partner Mitsubishi Chemical. Multikarsa Investama of Indonesia is supposed to be buying the western European textile fibre operations, although the deal has been delayed by Indonesia's financial crisis.

The consortium plans to hold separate discussions with Celanese Canada, in which Hoechst has a 56% stake, about buying the Canadian polyester business.

Koch Industries is the second-largest privately held company in the US in revenue terms. It employs more than 16 000 people and is involved in oil and gas, agriculture, chemicals and chemical technology, energy service, asphalt products, metals and minerals services, real estate and financial investments.

Grupo Xtra is owned by Mexican businessman Isaac Saba and his three sons. The diversified company is involved in manufactured fibres, textiles, agriculture, food processing, real estate and tourism. It employs more than 11 000 people. The Sabas are also the largest Mexican shareholder of Grupo Celanese, a fibres, packaging and chemical group with $1.2bn sales.

The companies have signed a letter of intent and are beginning the due diligence process, at the end of which a price will be settled. The deal is expected to be finalised within a few months.