Is Cognis for Sale?


Cognis Holding Luxembourg, parent company of Cognis, announced yesterday that it has decided to explore and pursue various strategic options, and has selected the investment banks Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan to assist in the review.

While the company offered no further comment, Plastics & Rubber Weekly reported yesterday that two options are under consideration: an initial public offering of shares and the possible sale of the business to an industry or financial buyer. The sale would include the whole Cognis group, and would include its 50 percent share of Cognis Oleochemicals, the online newsletter reported.

Cognis, headquartered in Monheim, Germany, reported sales of 3.07 billion (U.S. $3.77 billion) in 2004 and employs about 8,000 people worldwide.

Cognis Synlubes Technology business markets four main brands. Synative products include base oils for high-performance lubricants, hydraulic and transmission fluids, oleochemical raw materials such as esters, fatty acids and fatty alcohols for lubricant production, and additive components for fuels and metalworking fluids.

The companys Emgard line includes compounded synthetic lubricants for gearboxes and transmissions, axle oils, air compressors and industrial applications.

Its Breox polyalkylene glycol base fluids, premixes and compounded lubricants are supplied for transportation, industrial lubricants, hydraulic fluids, process oils and other applications. Uses for its ProEco compounded lubricants and base fluids include refrigeration and air conditioning compressors and transformer oils.

Cognis Synlubes Technology has production and service sites in Canada, United States, Brazil, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, U.K. and China.

In addition to its Synlubes business, Cognis supplies specialty chemicals to a wide range of industries. Cognis was an integrated part of Henkel until 1999, when it became an independent business unit. In November 2001, Henkel sold Cognis to private equity funds advised by Permira, GS Capital Partners and SV Life Sciences, the current owners.

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