US PQ Group sells materials business for $650m, reviews options for chems

Author: Stefan Baumgarten


HOUSTON (ICIS)--US specialty chemicals, catalysts and materials company PQ Group Holdings is selling its performance materials business for $650m to an affiliate of private equity firm The Jordan Company.

In addition, PQ is reviewing "strategic alternatives" for its performance chemicals business.

The materials business supplies engineered microspheres for highway safety products and industrial and consumer applications. The chemicals business produces sodium silicates and downstream  derivatives and specialty silicas.

Both moves are part of a "Simpler and Stronger" strategy to focus on PQ's high-growth and high-margin catalysts and refining services businesses, it said in a regulatory filing on Friday.

The divestment of the performance materials business is expected to close by the end of 2020.

The company expects to use after tax cash proceeds from the sale, along with a portion of existing cash balances, to reduce debt by about $460m while also allocating up to $250m to a special shareholder dividend.

Thumbnail image shows crosswalk markings. A PQ product line being sold is used to make such markings. Source: Shutterstock