Solvay Sells Caprolactones Business | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: October 16, 2007

Solvay Sells Caprolactones Business

Buyer, Perstorp, aims to expand unit after the deal closes
Department: Business
Solvay's Warrington, U.K. plant manufactures ε-caprolactone.
Credit: Solvay
Solvay's Warrington, U.K. plant manufactures ε-caprolactone.
Credit: Solvay

In its second acquisition in just under a month, Swedish specialty chemicals maker Perstorp is buying Solvay's caprolactones unit for about $285 million.

Perstorp says its business is the largest of its kind in the world. Solvay makes ε-caprolactone at a plant in Warrington, U.K. Major applications for ε-caprolactone include polyols used to make polyurethanes for shoe soles and medical splints. The Solvay business employs 65 people and generated revenues of $85 million in 2006.

Solvay says the caprolactone unit has no significant synergies with Solvay's other pharmaceutical, chemical, and plastics businesses. Moreover, the company doesn't make cyclohexanone, the key raw material for ε-caprolactone. Solvay, however, is one of the world's leading producers of hydrogen peroxide, which is reacted with acetic acid to make another ε-caprolactone intermediate, peracetic acid.

Perstorp doesn't make cyclohexanone, but it does make polyols that go into applications similar to those derived from ε-caprolactone. Pending the expected completion of the deal in the fourth quarter of this year, Perstorp plans to double capacity for ε-caprolactone and expand capacity for downstream polyols and other polymers. "Perstorp's aim is a long-term commitment in the caprolactone market," says Mats Persson, executive vice president at Perstorp.

In late September, Perstorp purchased a purified isophthalic acid (PIA) plant in Singapore from Lonza. PIA is used in polyester terephthalate, unsaturated polyester resins, and coatings.

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