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Lonza Advances After Naming BASF’s Ridinger as CEO: Zurich Mover

Lonza Advances
The Lonza Group AG headquarters are seen in Basel. Source: Lonza Ltd. via Bloomberg

Lonza Group AG shares rose the most in three months after the Swiss maker of pharmaceutical ingredients named Richard Ridinger, who has worked at BASF SE and Henkel AG, as its new chief executive officer.

The shares climbed as much as 3.6 percent to 48.79 Swiss francs, the biggest intraday gain since Jan. 3, and traded 3.3 percent up at 48.66 francs as of 9:47 a.m. in Zurich.

The new CEO will help Lonza focus more on chemicals after its acquisition of Arch Chemicals Inc. last year for about $1.2 billion, according to Carla Baenziger, an analyst at Bank Vontobel in Zurich. “Lonza again underpins its strategy to move more back into the chemicals sector,” Baenziger wrote in a note to investors. She has a “hold” recommendation on the stock.

Ridinger, 53, is German and headed a unit of BASF SE’s Cognis division, Basel, Switzerland-based Lonza said in a statement. Cognis, where Ridinger spent 11 years, makes ingredients for shampoos, body lotions and household products. Lonza succeeds Stefan Borgas, who was pushed out in January. The change is effective May 1.

Lonza shares slumped 13 percent on Jan. 25 after the company reported a 46 percent drop in earnings and said it would replace Borgas. Chairman Rolf Soiron has filled the position on an interim basis since then.

Ridinger has a degree as a chemical engineer, Lonza said. He spent 14 years at Henkel, the maker of Loctite superglue.

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