Croda to Acquire Uniqema for 410 Million


Croda International Plc. has reached an agreement to buy ICI Groups oleochemical subsidiary, Uniqema, the companies announced last week.

Croda said it was attracted by Uniqemas presence in consumer and personal care industries; the London-based specialty chemical manufacturer recently shed some lubricant operations.

The deal will cost Croda 410 million (U.S. $758 million) in cash and assumption of debt. It is subject to approval by regulators and Croda shareholders and is expected to be completed during the third quarter of this year.

Uniqema, which is based in Gouda, Netherlands, works mostly with oleochemicals and derivatives thereof, making products for surfactant and other applications that are sold to industries such as personal care, cleaners and healthcare products. In the lubricants industry it supplies surfactants and specialty base stocks made from oleochemicals and synthetic chemicals, along with specialty products such as compressor oils and refrigerator lubricants sold under the Emkarate brand.

Uniqema had sales revenue of 631 million last year, accounting for 11 percent of total turnover at ICI, which is formally known as Imperial Chemical Industries Plc. The parent company, headquartered in London, said in February that it wanted to sell Uniqema so it could focus on core operations.

Croda posted revenue of 306 million last year. The company had no specific comment last week about Uniqemas lube-related operations. In announcing the agreement Thursday, it identified several aspects that it considered highlights of the deal, including Uniqemas making of oleochemical specialties, Uniqemas position in the consumer care industry, and the opportunity to acquire Uniqema products and technologies in applications such as alkylates, sunscreens and crop care.

Croda currently has relatively little involvement in the lubes industry. It manufactures phosphate ester lubricants and phosphate esters used as anti-wear agents, along with corrosion inhibitors. In March the company sold its rolling oils unit to Shell.

Uniqema has 14 factories around the world and employs 2,600 people.

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