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Mergers & Acquisitions

Chemical deals dip in third quarter

by Melody M. Bomgardner
November 2, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 43

Global economic uncertainty, trade disputes, and political tensions put a damper on the value of chemical mergers and acquisitions struck in the third quarter, according to an analysis by the consulting firm PwC. Deal value, which shrank 10% from the second quarter, was down 15% for the first nine months of the year. The number of deals, at 213 as of the end of September, withered by 13% compared with the 2018 period. The first half of 2019 saw six specialty chemical acquisitions worth more than $1 billion each, but such big-deal activity halted in the third quarter. PwC points out that few privately held specialty chemical firms are available to acquirers anymore. Instead, the sale of Huntsman’s intermediates and surfactants business to Indorama Ventures for $2 billion was the third quarter’s largest deal. Chemical corporations and private equity firms have plenty of cash to snap up companies, but PwC expects deal values and volumes to be flat or slightly down for the rest of 2019 and into next year. Firms will look to acquire smaller businesses that are unwanted after recent megadeals, PwC says.


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