Clariant Emphasizes Ventures Over Another Sued Chemie-Sized Deal

Clariant AG, nearing the integration of its $2.5 billion purchase of Sued-Chemie, will focus on joint ventures and bolt-on acquisitions, Chief Executive Officer Hariolf Kottmann said.

“There’s no strategic takeovers like Sued-Chemie on the agenda,” Kottmann told shareholders gathered for an annual meeting at a center in Basel, Switzerland.

Clariant will seek smaller deals to acquire technologies, fill regional gaps and extend its supply chain, said the CEO. It will also seek more partnerships such as last year’s amines joint venture with Singapore-based agribusiness Wilmar International Ltd. Chairman Rudolf Wehrli told Basler Zeitung earlier this week that the company would take a close look at a Sued-Chemie type deal if it were available.

Kottmann met minimal outcry from investors after leading Clariant through its biggest transformation since its spinoff from drugmaker Sandoz in 1995. He’s carving out commodity chemicals and building a new base upon Sued Chemie’s catalysts used to cut exhaust pollution as well as to produce chemicals. Clariant bought the business in 2011 for 2.4 billion francs ($2.5 billion).

After earmarking five units for disposal, the CEO swiftly dispatched three of them to SK Capital Partners for $540 million at the end of last year. Sale processes are under way for remaining leather-chemical and detergent-ingredient businesses, and Clariant hopes to complete those transactions by the end of 2013, Kottmann said.

Clariant says it needs to conquer Asia to offset an enduring decline in Europe. European markets may shrink by as much as 5 percent, Wehrli said in his address to shareholders.

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