Basell to Buy Huntsman for $9.6 Billion


Polyolefin producer Basell will acquire chemical manufacturer Huntsman Corp. for $9.6 billion, the two companies announced yesterday, a combination that creates one of the largest chemical companies in the world.

Lubricant and fuel additives are key applications for Huntsmans Jeffamine-brand polyetheramines. They are used as carrier oils, detergents and dispersing agents in lubricant and fuel compositions.

Under the agreements terms, Basell will acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Huntsman for $25.25 per share in cash.

All of those shares will be held by one shareholder – thatll be Basell, Huntsman spokesman Russ Stolle told Lube Report. So were going private. Basell, which is headquartered in The Netherlands, is privately owned by United States-based industrial group Access Industries.

Each companys board of directors has unanimously approved the transaction. Subject to closing conditions, including approval of Huntsman shareholders, it is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

The sale of Huntsmans base chemicals and polymers business for $761 million to Flint Hills Resources, announced in February and expected to close in the third quarter, will still go through as planned, according to Stolle.

Huntsman – which has its world headquarters in Salt Lake City and its administrative headquarters in Woodland, Texas – has 14,000 employees and more than 75 operations in 24 countries. Basell, including its joint ventures, has more than 6,800 employees and manufacturing operations in 19 countries.

Huntsman Chemical and Dow Chemical are the largest amines producers. Huntsmans first Asia Pacific polyetheramines site, which broke ground in Juron Island, Singapore in November 2005, is expected to begin commercial production in the third quarter of this year. The new plant will produce 30 million pounds of Jeffamine-brand products annually, complementing Huntsmans larger polyetheramines facilities in Conroe, Texas and Llanelli, Wales.

Stolle said Huntsman and Basell expect the acquisition to have little impact on either companys employees. Theres very little overlap in our businesses, he said.

Bassel spokesman Nick Nagurny agreed, explaining that the companies saw each other as very complimentary, rather than as competitors.

Huntsman used to be a strong player in polyolefins and polypropylene, but thats not part of their activities today, nor is it part of this transaction, Nagurny told Lube Report. We believe there will be benefits from the shared knowledge of the markets. We dont compete product for product – but we are in the same market areas in some cases. I think what well have here is two companies that are complimentary, that will have an expanded product portfolio that can provide a broader product offering that will work together well in the markets they currently serve in a lot of cases.

He said Basell has worked hard to become a technology leader in polyolefins. I think thats an edge Basell has in the polyolefins marketplace, and the fact these two companies both have had similar values around that could suggest that there are some opportunities to exchange and benefit from, Nagurny said.

Basell produces polypropylene and advanced polyolefins products, supplies polyethylene and catalysts, and develops and licenses polypropylene and polyethylene processes. Basells licensed technologies represent about 36 million metric tons of polyolefin capacity per year globally. The company said its chemicals see uses in a variety of products, including plastic grocery bags, car bumpers, syringes and water pipes.

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