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July 28, 2013

Altana to acquire rheology modifier business from Rockwood

Gerald Ondrey

The specialty chemicals group Altana (Wesel, Germany; has signed a definite agreement to acquire the global rheology business of Rockwood Holdings Inc. The unit, currently part of Rockwood’s Performance Additives segment, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rheology additives that optimize the flow characteristics of various materials. With about 340 employees at four production sites in the U.S., the U.K. and Germany the rheology business generated sales of $191 million in 2012. After approval by the relevant antitrust authorities, Altana will integrate the business into its BYK Additives & Instruments division.

The purchase price amounts to $635 million. The closing of the transaction is expected to take place in the fourth quarter of 2013.

With the acquisition Altana is expanding its existing additives portfolio. „The acquisition of Rockwood’s rheology business is fully in line with our focus on true specialty chemicals and opens up new growth opportunities,” says Altana CEO Matthias L. Wolfgruber. Rheology additives are amongst others used in coatings, construction materials and personal care products. They can, for example, ensure that coatings have the right viscosity and that they can be applied without forming droplets or bubbles.

“The acquisition is associated with an attractive growth potential,” says Christoph Schlu╠łnken, president Division BYK Additives & Instruments. “We will for example use the existing BYK structure to grow the acquired rheology business in Asia.” Currently about 40% of Rockwood’s rheology sales are generated each in North America and Europe.

With the acquisition ALTANA’s sales are expected to reach about €1.9 billion. There will be four additional production sites: Gonzales (Texas), Louisville (Kentucky), Widnes (U.K.) and Moosburg (Germany). The number of employees will rise to about 5,700.


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