US Celanese keen on M&A in 2022 amid strong cash flow, low debt

Adam Yanelli

28-Jan-2022

HOUSTON (ICIS)–US-based acetyls and engineered materials producer Celanese is excited about its future when it comes to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in 2022, as it believes it has the financial capability and management team in place, the CEO said on Friday.

Speaking during a conference call to discuss Q4 and full-year earnings, CEO Lori Ryerkerk pointed to the recent $1.15bn acquisition of ExxonMobil’s Santoprene business in December as an example.

“We are really excited. The transition went really well,” Ryerkerk said. “Over December – just one month in – we are already starting to see delivery of some synergies that are ahead of schedule and are excited about possibilities of cross selling.”

In answering a question from an analyst on what types of businesses Celanese would consider, Ryerkerk said, “Our lens is fairly wide open – all the way from bolt-ons to transitional acquisitions.”

Ryerkerk said the company will consider additional polymers companies and would not be deterred from looking at opportunities across regions.

“I am geographically agnostic,” the CEO said. “We are looking at acquisitions across both Engineered Materials and the Acetyls Chain. We are excited about the future of M&A and our abilities to do larger and larger M&A deals.”

Ryerkerk said she believes Celanese not only has the financial capabilities to do a significant amount of M&A, but also has the management and employee bandwidth and capability.

Ryerkerk pointed to the $1.3bn in free cash flow and its debt level as another positive.

“We think we have a very large capacity to take on debt,” Ryerkerk said. “We are very low leveraged right now. We could take on significant debt, and with the cash flow we have right now we could pay off that debt.”

Executives on the call said the company is always focusing on organic growth and has $600m set aside to address organic growth in 2022.

“We are pushing as hard as we can to grow as fast as we can,” she said.

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