Ethyl Sells Antioxidants Line


Ethyl Corp. announced yesterday that it has sold its phenolic antioxidants business to former spinoff Albemarle Corp.

The deal covers a family of antioxidants and blends used to extend the storage life and thermal stability of a broad range of lubricant and fuel products. Ethyl said it sold the business to shore up its finances. The Richmond, Va., additive company had sales of $708 million in petroleum additives in 2001. It seems to have climbed out of the red after downsizing in 2000 and 2001 but is still working to reduce its debt.

This transaction is another step in fulfilling Ethyl’s previously announced goals of reducing debt, strengthening our balance sheet and allowing us to focus more closely on our core businesses, said Newton Perry, senior vice president of strategy.

The companies did not disclose terms of the sale. They did say they entered a long-term supply agreement to meet Ethyls internal needs for phenolic antioxidants. Albemarle has manufactured the antioxidants for Ethyl to use and market since 1994, when it was spun off from Ethyl. Albemarle now takes over the reins directly for the product line.

Albemarle, which is also based in Richmond, is a billion-dollar global producer of specialty chemicals for consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals, construction and packaging materials and agricultural, automotive and industrial products. It has not directly been part of the lubricants industry since selling its alpha olefins business in 1996.

Albemarles plant in Orangeburg, S.C., already works with orthoalkylation chemistries, like those involved in Ethyls antioxidants. Albemarle added that the deal should allow it to increase sales to existing customers.

Many plastics producers that have been buying our specialty antioxidants worldwide since the 1960s are the same petrochemical companies that also buy fuel and lubricant antioxidants, said Don Mahoney, Albemarle’s catalysts and additives global business director.

Albemarle was created in 1994 when Ethyl spun off its specialty chemicals business. Three decades earlier, a small paper company named Albemarle bought Ethyl, a much larger joint venture between General Motors and Standard Oil. Albemarle then assumed the Ethyl name.

Related Topics

Additive Components    Additives    Antioxidants