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Nettlesome chemical deals close

BASF and Evonik close acquisitions after agreeing to divestments

by Alexander H. Tullo
February 6, 2020 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 98, Issue 6


A photo of nylon production.
Credit: BASF
BASF's purchase of much of Solvay's nylon 6,6 business will give it greater heft in the nylon industry.

Two chemical deals that were under heavy regulatory scrutiny have finally closed. BASF has completed its purchase of Solvay’s nylon 6,6 business, while Evonik Industries has closed its acquisition of PeroxyChem.

BASF faced concerns from the European Commission that buying the Solvay nylon business would give the company too commanding a market share. To address those fears, Solvay sold a big chunk of its European nylon 6,6 engineering polymer business to Germany’s Domo Chemicals.

For $1.4 billion, BASF is still getting nylon 6,6 polymer operations, as well as a stake in an adiponitrile and hexamethylene diamine joint venture in France with Invista. Back integrating into adiponitrile—a nylon 6,6 precursor sometimes in short supply—was a key deal objective for BASF. The German giant will have a joint venture in adipic acid, another nylon 6,6 raw material, with Domo.

Meanwhile, after a victory in US District Court in Washington, DC, Evonik has closed its $640 million purchase of PeroxyChem, a maker of hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid.

The US Federal Trade Commission sued last summer to stop the deal on the grounds that it would over-concentrate the North American peroxide market, especially in the Pacific Northwest. The court decided that the FTC did not prove its case. Canadian authorities forced Evonik to sell a plant in British Columbia to United Initiators, however, to alleviate concerns about concentration in the Northwest.

According to Dechert, a Philadelphia-based law firm, antitrust enforcement has been stiff under the Trump administration after a slow start. “The numbers show relative stability across Republican- and Democratic-led administrations in terms of the volume of significant merger investigations,” it said in a report.



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