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Solvay in surfactants exit

Solvay Group has agreed to sell its North American and European amphoteric surfactant business to Los Angeles private equity firm OpenGate Capital. This is expected to close by the end of March, subject to consultation and regulatory approvals. Terms were not disclosed.

Michael Radossich, president of Solvay’s Novecare global business unit, called this “another critical step in the execution of our strategic plan as we further focus our home and personal care portfolio on growing specialty formulations and custom solutions”. The company added that it will invest the proceeds “in its strategic growth segments as part of its portfolio simplification journey”.

The sale include the three main production sites at University Park, Illinois, Genthin, Germany, Halifax, UK, plus a tolling business in Turkey. The agreement also includes ongoing tolling and service agreements to ensure that any customer disruption is minimised.

Earlier, in November 2020, Solvay agreed to sell its technical-grade barium and strontium business in Germany, Spain and Mexico, plus the sodium percarbonate business in Germany, including a joint venture with Chemical Products Corporation, to Latour Capital. This was also described in terms of portfolio simplification and is also expected to close within Q1. 

Solvay also recently announced that it has begun a process of decarbonising its cyclopentanone unit at Melle, France.  It has agreed to source all biomethane gas for the next 15 years from a local agricultural cooperative, which has built a facility to convert waste biomass into 18 GWh/year of renewable natural gas.

Cyclopentanone is a building block for many fragrance applications, such as methyl dihydro jasmonate jasmine and a range of delta-lactones that are said to offer “a variety of delicate creamy and fruity notes”. Solvay commercialises two grades from the site: one for fragrances and an ultra-high purity version for use as a solvent in the manufacture of semiconductors.

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