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Huntsman Makes Major Play for TiO2

Thursday, September 19, 2013

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With its sight set on becoming the No. 2 global producer of titanium dioxide pigments, Huntsman Corp. will up its pigment production with a $1.1 billion cash acquisition of certain business units of Rockwood Holdings Inc.

The companies announced the deal, which also included the assumption of $225 million in pension obligations and other customary adjustments, on Tuesday (Sept. 17).


Huntsman announced a deal to purchase Rockwood Holdings' Performance Additives and Titanium Dioxide businesses. The deal should close next year.

Rockwood Holdings, a global chemical producer based in Princeton, NJ, has agreed to sell its Performance Additives and Titanium Dioxide businesses to the Salt Lake City, UT-based Huntsman.

Huntsman said the transaction was expected to close during the first half of 2014, following receipt of regulatory approvals.  

Immediate Impact

The deal is anticipated to provide an immediate benefit on per-share earnings and add 60 cents a share annually, Huntsman added.

DuPont Co. is the world’s largest producer of titanium dioxide, a white pigment widely used in coatings, paper, plastics and laminates industries. Huntsman is currently the world's fourth-largest producer of the pigment.

The second largest producer of titanium dioxide is Cristal Global; the third is Tronox Incorporated.

While DuPont may be looking to get out of the pigment game, Huntsman appears eager to increase its market share.

In July, DuPont announced it was “exploring options” including a possible sale or spin-off for its Performance Chemicals segment, which includes Titanium Technologies and Chemicals & Fluoroproducts. Those businesses produce paint pigments from titanium dioxide, Teflon coatings and other products.

Transaction Details

The Rockwood Holding businesses that are to be purchased by Huntsman are Titanium Dioxide Pigments, Color Pigments & Services, Timber Treatment Chemicals, Rubber/Thermoplastics Compounding, and Water Chemistry.

The units had combined net sales of $1.45 billion and $1.53 billion for 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2012, and last 12 months (LTM) ended June 30, 2013, respectively, according to Rockwood.

Rockwood Holdings Inc.

The businesses in the deal include Rockwood Color Pigments & Services, a primary manufacturer and processer of liquid, powder, and granulated forms of iron oxide and inorganic pigments used by coating and colorant makers.

Rockwood’s Performance Additives and TiO2 businesses includes the manufacture and supply of sulphate process TiO2 synthetic iron-oxide and other organic pigments, timber treatment products and specialty automotive materials

Applications for these products are used in coatings, construction, concrete, plastics, papers, inks, food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, fibers and films. Rockwood described the businesses involved in the transaction in detail on its website.

Pigment Plans

The deal better positions Huntsman to “serve customers through a broader product range including color pigments, functional additives and specialty TiO2 pigments,” according to Peter R. Huntsman, Huntsman president and CEO.

“The transaction […] is the next step in our long term value creation strategy for our Pigments business. 

“We anticipate TiO2 demand will continue to recover in the coming quarters, and during this time we will be focused on strengthening our world class Pigments business and capturing approximately $130 million in expected annual cost savings, to be fully achieved by the end of 2015,” he said.

Further, the Huntsman president noted that the company plans for a public offering of the newly combined pigments businesses within two years of the acquisition.

Shedding 'Non-Core' Units

Rockwood said the deal would allow it to divest from several “non-core” units, as part of a strategic plan the company launched earlier this year.

"With the sale of these businesses, we have successfully completed, ahead of schedule, all of our key objectives for 2013," said Seifi Ghasemi, Rockwood chairman and CEO.

Earlier this month, the company announced the sale of its Advanced Ceramics businesses to Cinven Partners LLP, a European private equity firm for $1.99 billion. In July, the company announced a $635 million deal to sell its Clay-Based Additives business to Altana Group, a German specialty chemical company.

About the Companies

Huntsman is a worldwide manufacturer of chemicals and produces products for a variety of industries including construction, chemicals, plastics, aviation, footware and furniture.

The company has more than 75 manufacturing facilities in 30 countries and employs about 12,000. Revenue last year topped $11 billion.

Rockwood Holdings focuses on global “niche businesses” in the specialty chemicals, pigments and additives markets.

The company employs approximately 7,100 and had annual net sales of about $3.0 billion in 2012.


Tagged categories: Acquisitions; Business matters; Coatings raw materials manufacturers; Coatings technology; Huntsman; Pigments; Raw materials; Rockwood Holdings Inc.; Titanium dioxide

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