Grace agrees to buy BASF polyolefin catalysts business


US-based W.R Grace has entered an agreement to acquire the polyolefin catalysts business of German chemical group BASF for an undisclosed amount.

Pending regulatory approvals, required consultations with employee representatives, and other customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to closed in the third quarter of this year. Both companies have not disclosed the deal's terms.

Currently, the polyolefin catalysts business is part of BASF's Catalysts division.

The deal will include technologies, patents, trademarks and the transfer of BASF's production plants in Pasadena, Texas, and Tarragona, Spain.

Following completion of the deal, around 170 employees globally are expected to be transferred to Grace.

Grace supplies polyolefin catalysts technology, as well as polypropylene (PP) process technology. It has a wide portfolio of polyolefin catalyst technologies of any independent catalysts producer.

The deal includes Lynx high-activity polyethylene (PE) catalyst technologies that are used in slurry processes for the production of high-density PE (HDPE) resins such as bimodal film and pipe.

The LYNX PP catalyst technologies are used in all major PP process technologies including slurry, bulk loop, stirred gas, fluid gas and stirred bulk.

"This is an important addition to Grace's strong portfolio of polyolefin catalysts technologies."

Grace chairman and chief executive officer Fred Festa said: "This is an important addition to Grace's strong portfolio of polyolefin catalysts technologies.

"Grace is uniquely positioned to serve the growing needs of the polyolefins market and benefit from operational synergies. This opportunity is perfectly aligned with our focus on core catalysts and materials technologies."

As well as its PP and PE catalysts products and technology, the BASF assets also provide Grace with significant additional flexibility and capacity for its global polyolefin manufacturing network.

BASF Catalysts division president Kenneth Lane said: "This sale was the best course of action for both the Catalysts division and for the long-term interests of the Polyolefin Catalysts business and its employees.

"With this divestiture, we will continue to sharpen our focus on key growth areas, including our chemical catalysts and refinery catalysts businesses."

Image: BASF-Hochhaus in Ludwigshafen, Germany. Photo: courtesy of Gewetz.