IHS Chemical Week


Specialties Snapshot, Dec. 15-29

4:39 PM MST | December 29, 2011 | By REBECCA COONS

Acquisitions dominated specialties news in the closing weeks of 2011. Other than a few notable exceptions, most deals were small. European Parliament also approved a ban on phosphates, mirroring regulatory and retailer efforts to phase out the aquatic life-harming chemical.

H.B. Fuller announced the biggest deal just before Christmas. The company has agreed to purchase Forbo Group’s (Zurich) global industrial adhesives business for CHF370 million ($394 million), a deal that significantly increases Fuller's position in China and creates one of the world's largest industrial adhesives makers. The acquired business is expected to post approximately $580 million in revenue and $35 million in Ebitda for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2011. The deal increases Fuller’s business in China by about 50%, enhances its leadership position in North America, and makes Fuller one of only a “handful” of manfacturers capable producing vinyl acetate/ethylene (VAE)  emulsions, says CEO Jim Owens. 

DIC plans to acquire packaging inks firm Pacific Inks (Auckland, NZ) in a deal it expects to add $32 million to annual sales. Pacific facilities in the Asia/Pacific region are expected to be rationalized, DIC says.

Barentz Europe (Hoofddorp, the Netherlands) acquired specialty ingredients firm Forum Products (Redhill, U.K.) on December 19. . "Until now we were a bit under-represented in the U.K. compared to other European countries," says Hidde van der Wal, CEO of Barentz.

Altana (Wesel, Germany) says its Eckart effect pigments division has signed an agreement to sell the natural mica pearlescent business for cosmetics to Sudarshan Chemical Industries (Pune, India).

In regulatory news, European Parliament approved the European Commission's proposal to ban the use of phosphates and limit the content of other phosphorous-containing compounds in consumer laundry and automatic dishwasher detergents by June 30, 2013, and January 1, 2017, respectively.  The measures included in the proposed legislation aim to protect aquatic life because the release of phosphates into waterways can cause algae to grow, threatening fish and other living organisms. Bans have already been implemented in the U.S. for automatic dishwashing detergents (leaving consumers cranky over cloudy dishes), and big-box retailer Wal-Mart has been forcing soapers to begin phasing out the water-softener.

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