Italmatch Buys Phosphorous Process


Italmatch Chemicals Group acquired Israel Chemicals’ RecoPhos Project Technology, boosting the group’s development of a process for production of elemental phosphorous – a raw material used in oil additives – from secondary “waste” raw materials.

Terms were not disclosed for the acquisition, which includes all licenses, intellectual property, know-how and assets related to the technology. “The aim is to further develop and complete a sustainable, highly efficient and economically viable process to recover phosphorus from all [phosphorus] containing waste steams – sewage sludge’s ashes is one of them – to produce [elemental phosphorus], to which the Recophos technology is expected to further add,” Italmatch said in a press release.

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Italmatch produces and markets performance additives for industrial lubricants, oil and gas, water treatment and plastics. Throughout its history the company has leaned on elemental phosphorous – referred to as P4 – as a strategic raw material, which is why it decided to acquire the Recophos Project Technology, a technology initiated by ICL and other partners. The company noted that P4 is a key raw material for different industrial application fields, including oil additives, flame retardants, crop protectors, pharmaceuticals, electrics and others.

According to Italmatch, the technology will help it open a new route to produce elemental phosphorus of the purest quality from secondary waste raw materials. In doing so it will help reduce consumption of natural phosphate ore. This ore was declared a critical and strategic raw material by the European Union due to its limited availability in the long-term future, the company noted.

“This acquisition not only introduces a new way to treat waste streams containing phosphorus, but also transforms the way the industry will treat [phosphorus] containing ashes in the future,” stated Carlos Galeano, director of the Beyond Innovation Project. “With Recophos, Italmatch Chemicals aims to both offer a P4 with a considerably higher quality to the market and [to] consolidate its global leadership in the high-tech industry.”

Bain Capital Private Equity, a leading global private investment firm, acquired the majority of Genoa, Italy-based Italmatch Chemicals together with the management in October 2018.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based ICL is a global specialty minerals and chemicals company primarily serving the agricultural, food and industrial markets. The company’s main resources are bromine, potash and phosphate.

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