ICIG SWOOPS for two more buys

06.03.2009

ITALY-FRANCE - The International Chemical lnvestors Group (ICIG), one of the most prolific buyers of fine chemical assets in recent years, acquired two more sites at the turn of the year. Having completed the acquisition of Albemarle’s site at Port de Bouc, near Marseille, in December, it then took Miteni from Mitsubishi Chemicals and other shareholders in late January. Terms were not disclosed in either case.

Miteni was founded in 1965 and is based at a site in Trissino near Vicenza in Italy (see also SCM, September 2007, pages 38-40), employing 165. Its turnover is not disclosed publicly but is believed to be in the region of €70-80 million/year, with about 60% of this being in Europe and the rest divided equally between the Americas and the rest of the world. Indications are that the name will not change, despite being derived from those of Mitsubishi and its former joint owner, Eni.

Miteni is specialized in fluorine intermediates and specialty chemicals; it claims to be the only company in Europe that can offer three major fluorination technologies - halogen exchange, diazotization and electro fluorination, plus downstream derivitisation technologies from the same site.

Miteni's products go into many industries, headed by agrochemicals, in which ICIG, via its Weylchem subsidiary, is already very strong and performance products. ICIG said that it expects Miteni's production and marketing capabilities to be "highly complementary" to the offerings of its other fine chemicals businesses in Germany, France, Belgium, Ireland and the US.

The Port de Bouc deal includes all of the equipment, buildings and land, plus certain other assets at the site, Albemarle will take a pre-tax charge of about €19-23 million as a result in Q4. ICIG's Azur Chimie subsidiary will toll manufacture certain unspecified products on its behalf.

Port de Bouc employs about 180 people and produces various bromine-based fine chemicals and intermediates. Albemarle first bought the brominated polystyrene flame retardants business from Ferro there in 2000, as it pursued global leadership in flame retardants, then the bromine fine chemicals plant from the former Atofina.