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Dynamic Synthesis, Novasep to Merge

by Michael McCoy
October 25, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 43


New fine chemicals firm will rank among industry leaders

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STATE OF THE ART The new Novasep will feature this Rohner pharmaceutical chemical plant in Basel, among others.
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Dynamic Synthesis and Novasep are planning to merge in a deal that will create a new player in pharmaceutical fine and custom chemicals with sales that would have totaled $375 million last year.

The merger is being engineered by Rockwood Specialties Group and its financial backers, the investment firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and DLJ Merchant Banking. These firms were behind Rockwood's acquisition earlier this year of much of the German chemical conglomerate Dynamit Nobel from Mg Technologies for about $2.7 billion.

The new deal calls for Dynamic Synthesis, the former Dynamit Nobel custom synthesis division, to be merged with France's Novasep to form a new stand-alone company within Rockwood. Although Novasep is the smaller of the two, it is the faster growing: Its sales were about $55 million last year and are expected to exceed $90 million this year. Perhaps for this reason, the new company will be called Novasep and will be headed by Novasep founder and CEO Roger-Marc Nicoud.

Nicoud says the new company will bring together complementary skills for the life sciences market. Founded in 1995, Novasep helped pioneer the separation of chiral enantiomers using simulated moving bed and other forms of chromatography. It became an active pharmaceutical ingredient producer last year with the purchase of Aventis' Seripharm subsidiary.

Dynamic Synthesis is a 100-year-old company composed of three linked pieces: Dynamit Nobel Special Chemistry, which specializes in hazardous reactions; Finorga, which concentrates on chiral technologies and is a user of Novasep chromatography equipment; and Rohner, which specializes in transition-metal catalysis. Rohner took a hit last year when a major customer of its new Swiss fine chemicals facility was acquired by a firm that took the manufacturing in-house (C&amp;EN, Nov. 10, 2003, page 22).



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