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Tronox-Cristal TiO2 Deal Advances in EU

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

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The European Commission has approved a divestiture meant to pave the way for the acquisition of titanium dioxide supplier Cristal (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia) by Tronox Limited (Stamford, Connecticut), a deal that still requires approval in the United States.

The commission OK'd the sale of Tronox's 8120 paper-laminate product, a necessary condition of its potential Cristal buy.

The Deal

The Cristal acquisition was up in the air after The United States Federal Trade Commission said in December 2017 that if the merger were to go through, the new Tronox-Cristal entity and Chemours would together control “the vast majority of chloride titanium dioxide manufacturing capacity in the North American market.”

Tronox TiO2

Tronox Limited (Stamford, Connecticut) announced that the European Commission has further approved its acquisition of Cristal (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia), a titanium dioxide pigment business, by green-lighting the divestiture of Tronox’s 8120 paper-laminate product.

(Tronox is currently the world’s sixth-largest TiO2 maker. Cristal is the second-largest TiO2 producer in the world, behind the DuPont spin-off company Chemours. TiO2 is a raw material widely used in the paints and coatings industry as a pigment to provide hide, durability and whiteness characteristics.)

The EC also found earlier this year that the acquisition would significantly reduce competition in “the European market for chloride-based titanium dioxide pigment for use in paper laminate.” The acquisition could both restrict choice and potentially lead to an increase in prices, the EC said.

However, the EC found that the deal would not restrict competition for TiO2 use for other products, just the paper laminate. So, to address those concerns, Tronox offered to divest its “business in titanium dioxide pigment for paper laminate comprising the required technology and other intangibles to an experienced manufacturer with chloride-based production technology active in the European Economic Area.”

Tronox announced the approval of that buyer, Venator Materials, (a United Kingdom-based chemical manufacturing company that spun off from Huntsman International LLC last year) on Aug. 20.

"We are pleased to receive the European Commission's final approval and look forward to consummating this highly synergistic combination designed to increase asset utilization, lower our cost position, unlock incremental product volumes to serve growing global markets, and create significant long-term value for our customers and shareholders," said Jeffry N. Quinn, president and chief executive officer of Tronox.

In addition to receiving final approval from the European Commission, Australia, China, New Zealand, Turkey, South Korea, Colombia and Saudi Arabia have also approved the proposed acquisition. The FTC remains the final regulatory authority reviewing the transaction. 


Tagged categories: Acquisitions; AF; AS; Asia Pacific; Business matters; Coating Materials; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); EU; Latin America; Mergers; NA; North America; OC; SA; Titanium dioxide; Tronox

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