Imperial Is Said to Shelve Sale of $151 Million Chemicals Unit

  • Bids fell short of the South African company’s valuation
  • Asset attracted interest from private equity, industry buyers

Imperial Holdings Ltd. has shelved the sale of a German agrochemical-ingredient business after potential buyers didn’t meet the South African company’s 2 billion rand ($151 million) valuation, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Schirm GmbH, which supplies European chemical makers including BASF SE and Syngenta AG, attracted bids from both industry buyers and private equity firms, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private. While the offers fell short of the seller’s demands on this occasion, Imperial may try again to offload the business at a later date, said one of the people.

A spokesman for Imperial declined to comment on market speculation.

The sale of Schirm is part of Chief Executive Officer Mark Lamberti’s plan to dispose of peripheral assets and focus on developing two distinct businesses focused on vehicles and the international transportation of goods. The Johannesburg-based company completed the sale of an insurance company earlier this year and and has offloaded more than 80 properties since 2014. Businesses earmarked for sale are valued at as much as $200 million, according to one of the people.

Imperial Said to Explore Sale of German Chemical Business

Imperial took control of Schirm via its purchase of German logistics company Lehnkering in 2011. Schirm has its headquarters and five plants in Germany, with an additional site serving customers in the U.S. Unlike other so-called fine chemical companies, its interests range from manufacturing ingredients to packaging services.

Imperial shares fell 0.6 percent to 185.34 rand as of 1:53 p.m. in Johannesburg, valuing the company at 37 billion rand.

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