Univar Buys Chemical Associates


Illinois-based chemical distributor Univar Inc. announced last week that it acquired the assets of oleochemical manufacturer and distributor Chemical Associates Inc. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

Chemical Associates specializes in blending, mixing and packaging formulated oleochemical products and supplies customers from 14 distribution centers throughout the United States. It offers packaged and bulk volumes in industries such as lubricants and greases, metalworking, polymers, personal care and others.

Univar spokesperson Scott Johnson told Lube Report, The acquisition of Chemical Associates expands our offering with the addition of a broad portfolio of oleochemicals, many of which are based on renewable and sustainable resources. This helps address the growing need of customers looking to formulate more environmentally responsible lubricants and metalworking fluids.

Chemical Associates products include ricinoleic acid, which Johnson said can be used to replace chlorinated paraffins as extreme pressure additives. CPs have been primarily used in industrial cutting fluids, particularly in the manufacture of automobiles and automobile parts. U.S. regulators have threatened to crack down on the use of mid- and long-chain chlorinated paraffins because of health concerns.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has stated it could eliminate mid- (C14-C17) and long-chain (C18-C21) chlorinated paraffins in U.S. commerce as early as May 2016 using its authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act. EPA determined that very long-chain versions (C21 and longer) are not a risk to the environment, so use of those can continue. Suppliers still must file Pre-manufacture Notifications and obtain CAS numbers for very long-chain CPs, and only one company has completed that process so far.

Chemical Associates also offered vegetable-based soluble oils used to formulate metalworking fluids, as well as sebacic acid, a castor oil derivative that can be used as a corrosion inhibitor.

Univar said that Chemical Associates will be combined with its U.S. subsidiary.

Most Chemical Associates employees transitioned into employment with Univar at the close of the transaction, noted Johnson.

Founded in 1924, Univar is a global chemical distributor of industrial and specialty chemicals. It supplies the oil and gas, industrial cleaning and others industries in North America and Europe.