PQ takes another shot at going public | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: June 13, 2017

PQ takes another shot at going public

Inorganic chemicals maker seeks listing on the New York Stock Exchange
Department: Business
Keywords: Specialty chemicals, silicas, zeolytes, sulfuric acid, sulphuric acid, PQ
A PQ subsidiary makes glass beads that help illuminate traffic markings at night.
Credit: Shutterstock
A photo of traffic markings on a rainy night.
A PQ subsidiary makes glass beads that help illuminate traffic markings at night.
Credit: Shutterstock

PQ Corp., a 180-year-old maker of silicates, sulfuric acid, and zeolite catalysts, has filed for an initial public offering of stock worth $100 million.

The New York City-based private equity firm CCMP owns 58% of PQ. The chemical maker Ineos owns another 31% of the company, and management holds an 11% stake.

PQ, based in Malvern, Pa., generated a loss of $79 million on nearly $1.1 billion in sales in 2016. The company has a debt load of $2.6 billion. According to a prospectus filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, the company intends to use the proceeds from the stock sale to pay down debt.

Founded in 1831 as Philadelphia Quartz, PQ was family-owned until 2005, when the private equity firm J.P. Morgan Partners bought it for $632 million. Morgan Partners sold it to the Carlyle Group for $1.5 billion in 2007. That same year PQ merged with Ineos Silicas, a transaction that gave Ineos its stake.

Carlyle planned a $450 million IPO for the firm in 2014, but a sale of a stake in the company to CCMP preempted those plans.

PQ merged with Eco Services, also owned by CCMP, last year. The private equity firm had bought the sulfuric acid manufacturing and recycling business from Solvay in 2014 for $890 million. The transaction brought PQ’s annual sales up to an estimated $1.5 billion .

Performance materials and chemicals make up more than half of PQ’s sales. This business makes products such as specialty silicates used in dishwasher detergents and precipitated silica found in fuel-efficient tires. It also makes glass microspheres used as plastic filler and in reflective traffic markings.

The former Eco business, which sells sulfuric acid to refiners for alkylation, represents another quarter of PQ’s sales. PQ also makes zeolite and silica-based catalysts, used in refineries and chemical plants.

If the IPO goes ahead, PQ will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol PQG.

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