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Specialty Chemicals

PQ to sell silicate unit

by Alexander H. Tullo
March 5, 2021 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 99, Issue 8


As part of its transformation into a refining services and catalyst specialist, PQ is selling its performance chemical business to the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management and the industrial conglomerate Koch Industries for $1.1 billion. The business makes sodium silicates, specialty silicas, and silicate derivatives. It had sales last year of $685 million, about 44% of PQ’s total. In December, PQ completed the sale of its performance material business—which had $363 million in sales of glass beads—to another private equity firm, the Jordan Company, for $650 million. PQ plans to use the proceeds from the two transactions to provide a special dividend to shareholders and pay down debt. PQ’s remaining businesses are in recycling sulfuric acid that refineries use for alkylation and producing zeolite catalysts for chemical synthesis. These businesses together posted $530 million in sales last year. PQ got into sulfuric acid regeneration through its 2016 merger with Eco Services. PQ also participates in the Zeolyst refining catalyst joint venture with Shell. As part of its transformation, PQ is buying Chem32, a provider of catalyst preactivation services, for $44 million.


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