OCI Said to Mull Sale of Stake in $1 Billion Soda-Ash Business

OCI Enterprises Inc. is considering the sale of its controlling stake in a $1 billion soda-ash operation, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

The company, based in Atlanta, has appointed Citigroup Inc. to explore options for its 51 percent holding in the asset located in Wyoming, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plan hasn’t been made public yet.

Representatives for OCI and Citigroup declined to comment.

OCI has expanded production at its Green River basin facility amid higher demand for containers and flat glass for cars, with Chief Executive Officer Kirk Milling last month forecasting a “great year” for the business.

OCI Resources owns a 51 percent stake in the soda ash facility, named OCI Wyoming. NRP Trona LLC owns 49 percent. Shares of OCI Resources have declined 5.6 percent this year, for a market value of $476 million.

A sale would follow rival FMC Corp.’s exit from soda ash, used in detergents, glass and chemical manufacturing, in a $1.64 billion deal with Tronox Ltd.

Tronox paid about nine times 2014 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for FMC’s soda ash business, according to HSBC estimates. OCI Resources is forecast to report $128.5 million in Ebitda this year, a 7 percent increase on last year, according to analyst estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

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