Synthomer Mulls Bid for Archroma Unit Valued at $1.5 Billion

  • CEO is seeking acquisitions in effort to diversify company
  • Archroma put up for sale by U.S. buyout firm SK Capital

Synthomer Plc is considering a bid for a textile chemicals business valued at about $1.5 billion that’s been put up for sale by U.S. private equity firm SK Capital Partners LP, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.

The U.K. maker of latex and nitrile rubber is looking at a number of opportunities as Chief Executive Officer Calum MacLean seeks to diversify the business, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. One target is SK Capital’s Archroma, a Swiss maker of dyes and coatings for clothes and paper built from units acquired from Clariant AG and BASF SE.

Representatives for Synthomer and SK Capital declined to comment.

MacLean has repeatedly said he plans to do deals to accelerate Synthomer’s development. Prior to joining the company in 2015, he spent two decades helping to build Ineos Group Holdings SA into one of the world’s biggest chemical makers by acquiring unwanted assets from oil majors such as BP Plc. His first purchase at Harlow, England-based Synthomer came last year with the $226 million acquisition of an adhesives business from Hexion Inc.

Synthomer shares rose 2.2 percent to 457.40 pence as of 1:28 p.m. in London, an all-time high. That values the company at 1.6 billion pounds ($2 billion).

Preliminary bids for Archroma are due in the coming days. SK Capital could potentially retain a stake if it goes ahead with a transaction, they said. Private equity firms with a track record in chemicals are also likely to be among the suitors, including Apollo Global Management LLC and Advent International Corp., said the people. Representatives for Apollo and Advent had no immediate comment.

Archroma generates about $180 million a year in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and $1.3 billion in sales, people close to the matter have said.

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