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Partners Selling ASK Chemicals to Investment Group

April 19, 2014
Operations in 25 countries Buyer to “further develop the business” Sale set for Q3 2014

The joint-venture partners that own ASK Chemicals LLC have agreed to sell the company to an investment fund for an estimated $350 million, according to a statement by the sellers. ASK Chemicals supplies sand binders, mold coatings, mold feeders, filters and release agents to foundries worldwide. It also produces inoculants, inoculation wires and master alloys for iron casting.

ASK Chemicals has 20 manufacturing sites and operations in 25 countries, including R&D centers in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. 

In FY 2013, ASK Chemicals generated revenues estimated at $709 million.

The buyer is Rhone Capital LLC, an private investment fund, and reportedly the successful candidate to emerge from a sale process that had been underway since 2013.

In its statement, Rhône indicated it would work with the ASK Chemicals management to “further develop the business in this new phase of ASK’s expansion, leveraging on its leading technology platform, long standing customer relationships, global manufacturing base, and talented personnel.”

The sellers are Clariant, a specialty chemical manufacturer and Ashland Inc. Clariant is the Switzerland-based specialty chemical company that acquired Süd-Chemie AG in 2011. Süd-Chemie and Ashland Inc. merged their foundry chemicals businesses in 2010 to establish the current ASK Chemicals organization.

The sale, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions, is expected to close during Q3 2014. Proceeds will be split evenly between Ashland and Clariant.

“The divestment of our stake in ASK Chemicals is part of our continuous active portfolio management to reallocate capital towards our more profitable growth areas,” stated Clariant CEO Hariolf Kottmann. “In the joint venture we have successfully combined the activities of Ashland and former Süd-Chemie businesses. Now we release it to a new owner who will focus on growth perspectives.”

James J. O’Brien, chairman and CEO of Ashland Inc. stated the sale would allow his company to “reposition” itself for “sustained sales and profit growth.

“At the same time, the divestiture will give ASK Chemicals an opportunity for new investment as it works to build on its position as a leading foundry chemicals manufacturer,” according to O’Brien.

Rhône commented: “We are proud to succeed Ashland and Clariant in the stewardship of ASK Chemicals. We are excited to be partnering with ASK Chemicals’ management team, and look forward to working with them to further develop the business in this new phase of ASK’s expansion, leveraging on its leading technology platform, long standing customer relationships, global manufacturing base and talented personnel.”

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)