Total’s $4.4 Billion Atotech Unit Said to Attract Sinochem, CVC

  • French refiner said to be seeking first-round bids this month
  • Company said to reach out to PEs including Advent, Bain

Total SA’s specialty chemicals division Atotech has attracted interest from companies including China’s Sinochem Group and buyout firms such as CVC Capital Partners, people familiar with the matter said.

A sale could value the business, which supplies electroplating and surface treatments used by the electronics industry, at as much as 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion), the people said, asking not to be named because the deliberations are private.

The French oil refiner’s unit could also draw bids from Advent International Corp., Bain Capital, Blackstone Group LP, and Cinven to consider bids for the business, the people said. First-round offers will be due as soon as this month and a decision on a buyer could come as early as September, they said.

Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne has gradually exited chemical businesses to focus on oil and gas, as well as renewable energy supplies. While in the past Total has sold adhesives businesses directly to its spinoff Arkema SA, this time the company is marketing Atotech to a broader group of private equity firms and potential strategic buyers, said the people.

Representatives for CVC, Advent and Cinven declined to comment. Spokesmen for Bain, Total and Blackstone didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. Sinochem didn’t respond to a request for comment outside of regular business hours.

Atotech has long been considered a candidate for disposal, even before Pouyanne said in May that he planned to divest the unit after the summer. It’s a resilient business, generating 1 billion euros in revenue last year, up 4 percent from 2014, even as overall sales fell. The business makes money from selling equipment such as spray booths, as well as from longer-term supply agreements for specialty chemicals.

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