Albemarle Bags ChemFirst Fine Chemicals

Source: CMR


Albemarle Corp. has agreed to purchase the custom and fine chemicals businesses of ChemFirst Inc. for roughly $74 million. Completion of the transaction is projected to occur no later than the third quarter.

The deal also provides for payments contingent on the profit contribution from a specific toll-manufactured product between 2002 and 2004, a sum not expected to exceed $10 million.

ChemFirst's custom and fine chemicals activities drew revenues of $70 million last year. They include the manufacture of pharmaceutical and agrochemical products as well as the production of additives for UV-cured polymer coatings.

Assets subject to the transaction are ChemFirst's cGMP pilot plant in Dayton, Ohio, and its plant in Tyrone, Pa. ChemFirst's pharmaceutical contract research and development business and fine chemicals product lines, including FirstCure performance polymer products, are included in the sale.

ChemFirst will write off a $27 million investment in contract R&D and fine chemicals manufacturing made at Pascagoula, Miss.; those activities will be discontinued and transferred to one of the sites acquired by Albemarle.

The acquisition will expand the portfolio of Albemarle's polymers business and broaden its fine chemicals capabilities to include the entire range of small to large scale manufacturing.

ChemFirst will further concentrate its resources on materials and chemicals for the semiconductor industry and on polyurethane chemicals.