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Mergers & Acquisitions

Arkema to pay $570 million for specialty surfactant maker ArrMaz

Acquisition of US-based firm will advance a drive into specialties

by Marc S. Reisch
May 16, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 20


A photo of a phosphate mining operation.
Credit: Shutterstock
ArrMaz's surfactants are used in industries such as phosphate mining.

France’s Arkema has reached a deal to acquire the Florida-based specialty surfactant maker ArrMaz from Golden Gate Capital, a private equity firm, for $570 million. Arkema says the purchase will help it reach a goal of deriving 80% of sales from specialty chemicals by 2023.

ArrMaz, which has annual sales of $290 million, employs 400 people. It formulates fatty acid-, ester-, and sulfonate-based processing aids and additives such as defoamers, and dust-control coatings for the mining, fertilizer, and asphalt industries. The firm operates a total of nine chemical plants in the US, Brazil, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and China.

Around for more than 50 years, ArrMaz started out by providing processing aids to the Florida phosphate fertilizer industry. It has had a series of private equity owners throughout the years.

Wind Point Partners acquired ArrMaz in 2003 and combined it with Custom Chemicals, creating a supplier of process chemicals for fertilizer and asphalt customers. Ten years later, Golden Gate bought the combined business from Snow Phipps for about $500 million, according to press reports. Under Golden Gate ownership, ArrMaz added operations in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco. It also launched an oil and gas additives business and in 2017 acquired the asphalt additives maker MaxxChem.

Arkema and ArrMaz have known each other since at least 2011, when ArrMaz began distributing an Arkema asphalt additive. That additive and others from ArrMaz will all come under Arkema’s performance additives business when the deal closes by the end of September.


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