Wedding Bells for Crompton, Great Lakes


In a move that creates one of the largest suppliers of chemicals for the lubricants industry, Crompton Corp. and Great Lakes Chemical Corp. announced last week they have agreed to a $1.8 billion merger.

The companies said the union will create a company that is bigger and stronger than either individually. They added that they plan to deliver up to $100 million in cost savings, which will probably entail some job cuts.

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It takes us a long way toward our goal of holding leading global positions in true value-added specialty chemicals businesses, Crompton President, Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert L. Wood said in a March 9 statement announcing the deal. [W]e see an opportunity with these solid platforms to accelerate our momentum in delivering higher earnings and stronger cash flow.

Officials said the deal will create the third-largest publicly owned specialty chemical company in the United States, with annual revenue of $4.1 billion. Existing Crompton shareholders will own 51 percent of the company, while existing Great Lakes shareholders will own the rest. The company will retain Cromptons name and stay headquartered in its Middlebury, Conn., home.

Cromptons Petroleum Additives business supplies a variety of lubricant and fuel additives, including high-viscosity polyalphaolefins, alkylated diphenylamine antioxidants, antiwear agents, and sulfonates, as well as grease. Lube applications for its additives include motor oils, transmission fluids, industrial and hydraulic oils and metalworking fluids.

Great Lakes is based in West Lafayette, Ind., and supplies chemicals for water treatment, household cleaners, flame retardants and performance products. Among the chemicals it markets to the lubricants industry are flame retardants, antioxidants, antiwear additives, extreme pressure additives, lubricity additives, pour-point depressants and viscosity modifiers.

The merger is subject to regulatory approvals and must be put to a vote by both companies stockholders. Officials said they expect it to close by mid-year.

Wood, who will retain the titles of chairman and chief executive officer, said the new company expects to find cost savings of $90 million to $100 million. A Crompton spokesman said some of that amount would come in the form of workforce reductions but that specific decisions have not been made yet.

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