SOLVAY has agreed to sell Acetow – its unit that makes cellulose acetate tow for cigarette filters – for US$1bn (US$1.08bn) to private equity group Blackstone.
The sale is part of the Belgian firm’s wider shift away from selling high-volume lower margin products.
“The divestment of Acetow is another significant step in Solvay’s transformation towards a multi-specialty chemical group with a higher growth profile,” said Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, CEO of Solvay.
Acetow saw sales drop 16% to €542m in 2015. As well as acetate tow, it produces cellulose acetate flakes used in plastics and cut-and-tear films. Completion of the sale is expected in the first half of 2017.
Acetow employs 1,300 people across six sites. The company is headquartered in Germany where it carries out both production and R&D. It has four production sites in Brazil, France, Russia, and the US. It also has a commercial office in Singapore.
Last year, Solvay bought US-based specialty chemicals and materials company Cytec for US$5.5bn. Cytec’s main business is making composites and adhesives for the aerospace industry. It also has business segments in industrial materials, in-process separation and additive technologies, such as polymer additives and formulated resins.
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