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Huntsman exits surfactants

Huntsman Corporation has agreed to sell its chemical intermediates businesses, including surfactants and derivatitves of ethylene oxide and propylene oxide (PO), to Indorama Ventures, a Thai-based petrochemical firm owned by Indorama Corporation of Singapore. This is expected to close towards the end of the year, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.

“This transaction … accelerates our ability to expand more in areas both downstream and complementary to our portfolio,” said Peter Huntsman, chairman, president and CEO.  “This is another milestone in our stated strategy to focus more on our downstream and specialty businesses.”

The sale represents a significant change in direction for Huntsman, which had sought to merge with Clariant in 2017, only to see the deal founder through investor opposition. The company added that it will accelerate its ongoing share repurchase programme with some of the cash accrued from the sale. It will also continue to work with Indorama Ventures as a customer and manufacturing partner through long-term commercial arrangements, including PO supply. The deal comprises a cash purchase price of $2 billion, plus about $76 million in net underfunded pension and other liabilities, or about 8x EBITDA. It includes facilities located in Port Neches, Texas; Dayton and Chocolate Bayou, Texas; Ankleshwar, India; and Botany, Australia.

Separately, Huntsman is to acquire Sasol’s 50% stake in their maleic anhydride joint venture in a $92.5 million deal that is also expected to close in Q4. This will give it full control of the 105,000 tonnes/year plant in Mörs, Germany. Maleic anhydride is mostly used in unsaturated polyester resins, but also has speciality applications, including food additives and paper chemicals.

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