Clariant and Huntsman clinch merger of equals

BY Richard Summerfield

Clariant and Huntsman Corporation have announced a merger of equals which will create a leading global speciality chemical company with an enterprise value of approximately $20bn, including debt.

Under the terms of the all-stock deal, Huntsman holders will get 1.2196 shares in the new company for each share they own. Clariant shareholders will have a 52 percent stake in the combined company, which will be known as HuntsmanClariant.

According to a statement announcing the deal, the two companies expect the merger to generate more than $400m in annual cost savings, leading to $3.5bn in value creation.

"This is the perfect deal at the right time. Clariant and Huntsman are joining forces to gain much broader global reach, create more sustained innovation power and achieve new growth opportunities,” said Hariolf Kottmann, CEO of Clariant. “This is in the best interest of all of our stakeholders. Peter Huntsman and I share the same strategic vision and I look forward to working with him.”

Peter R. Huntsman, president and CEO of Huntsman, who is expected to hold the same title at the combined group, said: “I could not be more enthusiastic about this merger and look forward to working closely with Hariolf Kottmann, a man I have admired and trusted for the past decade. We also look forward to a close association with his immensely talented colleagues around the world. Together, we will create a global leader in specialty chemicals with a combined balance sheet providing substantial financial strength and flexibility.”

Dr Kottmann will serve as HuntsmanClariant’s chairman. The firm, once merged, will operate in more than 100 countries and employ around 32,000 people. HuntsmanClariant will have a global headquarters in Pratteln, Switzerland, and an operational headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas.

Rumours of a merger between the two companies have circulated for some time. Indeed, Clariant and Huntsman are believed to have ended merger talks in late 2016 over a disagreement about which firm would play the lead role. The two companies have been on friendly terms for a while, and their respective CEOs are said to have had a professional and personal friendship for around the last eight years.

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2017, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.

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