Who Is Eyeing Infineum?


ExxonMobil Chemical and Shell Chemicals Ltd. last week announced they have agreed to evaluate market interest and discuss the possible sale of Infineum International Ltd., their additives joint venture started in 1999, with several potential buyers as part of a strategic study.

The two companies, divisions of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC respectively, said the study is part of an ongoingassessment of the Infineum business andopportunities for growth, restructuring or divestment depending upon fit with business objectives.

JP Morgan has been retained to assist with thestudy. No divestment decision has been made, and there is no specific timetable related to the strategic study, the companies said. During the review process, the shareholders remain committed to supporting Infineums strategic and operational goals and its ongoing financial progress.

An Infineum spokesman referred inquiries to the joint ventures shareholders. An ExxonMobil Chemical spokeswoman and Shells press officer each told Lube Report they could not comment beyond the information in the March 10 announcement.

U.S.and EU antitrust regulators would probablywant to have a fairly close look at any potential purchase of Infineum by one of the other three major additive manufacturers, R. David Whitby, chief executive of Woking, U.K., consultancy Pathmaster Marketing Ltd., told Lube Report.

Formed in January 1999, Infineum is afifty-fifty joint venture between ExxonMobil and Shell that brought together their respective additives divisions – Paramins and Shell Additives. The joint venture started with 2,000 employees. Infineum is headquartered in Milton Hill, U.K., and has regional business and technology centers in Linden, N.J., the United Kingdomand Singapore.

In a December 2004 press release, Infineum referred to itself as a $1.5 billion company. ExxonMobil and Shell do not issue separate earnings reports for the joint venture.

Infineum is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of lubricant additives used primarily in automotive, heavy-duty diesel and marine engines, along with additives for fuels and refineries. Its customers are oil companies and other lubricant and fuel marketers worldwide. The product line also includes specialty lubricant additives for two-stroke engines, automotive transmission fluids, gear and industrial oils.

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