IHS Chemical Week


Chemical Finance Digest, Feb. 20-24

2:47 PM MST | February 28, 2012 | By VINCENT VALK

Topping the headlines last week, BASF reported a small increase in fourth-quarter net income, as the company was hit by economic weakness in Europe. Net income totaled €1.13 billion, on sales up 10%, to €18.1 billion.

In other earnings news, Borealis saw its fourth-quarter net income fall amid a 4% decline in sales.

In M&A news, Berkshire Hathaway announced plans to buy Cookson’s precious metals business in the U.S. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Westlake also announced it may drop its $1.3 billion bid for Georgia Gulf if the latter company refuses to come to the negotiating table. Meanwhile, in a review of 2011 M&A, I discuss a record year that saw more than its fair share of ups and downs – a spate of billion-dollar plus deals and the perpetual threat of a meltdown in the euro zone.

Some equity deals were announced last week – Brenntag’s biggest owner, Brachem Acquisition, will sell 7 million more shares in the company at €82.50/share. The sale brings Brachem’s stake in Brenntag down to 13.7%. Meanwhile, FMC launched a new, $250 million, share buyback program, and also announced a 20% increase in its dividend, to 18 cts/share.

Moody’s has raised Monsanto’s credit rating to ‘A1,’ from ‘A2.’ The upgrade is due to strong profits and high demand for new seed genetics, says Moody’s analyst Bill Reed. Monsanto currently has $2.05 billion in debt securities.

The week ahead will see U.S. January construction spending figures released on Thursday. Consensus is for a 1% increase, after a 1.5% jump in December.

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