Blackstone launches bid for Germany’s Celanese

Dec 17, 2003 01:00 AM

Private equity group Blackstone launched a friendly EUR 3.1 bn (£ 2.1 bn) bid for Germany's Celanese in a move seen as part of the restructuring of the European chemicals sector. Blackstone, from the US, is offering EUR 32.50 for each Celanese share, valuing the equity at EUR 1.6 bn and will take on another EUR 1.5 bn of debt.
Both the Celanese management and the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, which holds 29 % of Celanese stock, have given their backing to the offer.

The deal is the latest in a series for the European chemicals industry which is battling weak demand, the high oil price and the strength of the euro against the dollar. MG Technologies said it was selling part of its chemicals trading business to French investors while Bain Capital is buying Deutsche Bahn's chemical distribution division, Brenntag, for EUR 1.4 bn.
Earlier, Bayer announced that it was taking a EUR 1.7 bn write-down against the bulk of its chemicals and part of its polymers business as part of its programme tospin the operations off into a separate company. Meanwhile there is speculation that US funds are eyeing Dynamit Nobel, MG's chemical production unit.

Celanese itself was part of a restructuring process.
It was formed from the chemicals business of Hoechst in 1999 ahead of the latter's merger with the non-chemicals business of Rhone-Poulenc.

Source: The Guardian
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