Evonik to Buy Air Products Unit for $3.8B

The German company's largest-ever deal gives it access to high-margin chemicals used in sun lotion and paint.
Katie Kuehner-HebertMay 6, 2016

Germany’s Evonik Industries said Friday it would buy the performance-materials unit of U.S.-based Air Products and Chemicals for $3.8 billion, adding high-margin chemicals used in sun lotion and paint to its portfolio.

The acquisition is the largest ever for Evonik and also furthers the restructuring of Air Products, which said last year it aimed to split into two public companies materials technologies, which includes the performance business, and industrial gases.

“With this acquisition, we are expanding our portfolio with precisely the right markets, products and innovations and continuing to invest in our growth and profitability,” Evonik CEO Klaus Engel said in a news release.

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As Reuters reports, Evonik has been seeking a large acquisition to bolster growth and reduce dependence on its volatile animal feed ingredients business.

The products it is acquiring from Air Products include ingredients for insulation foams, sun lotion and paint as well as additives to harden aircraft and marine coatings. “With their products and their strong positions in the key global markets, Evonik and the newly acquired business are highly complementary,” Evonik said.

The deal values the Air Products unit at 15.2 times expected 2016 earnings before EBITDA significantly above Evonik’s own trading multiple of 6.3 including debt, according to Thomson Reuters. However, once savings and tax benefits are included, it would be paying 9.9 times the assets’ earnings.

Air Products’ performance-materials division posted revenue of $1.04 billion over the 12 months ended March 31 but became expendable as the company focuses on industrial gases. “The sale of [the division] is consistent with the long-term strategy for Air Products that we announced in September 2014,” CEO Seifi Ghasemi said in a news release.

Air Products said the unit’s remaining operations, which supply the semiconductor industry, will likely be spun off to shareholders by September.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the chemicals industry has been experiencing a wave of dealmaking. Evonik earlier this year snapped up French startup Alkion Biopharma SAS for an undisclosed sum, while Dow Chemical and DuPont agreed to a $130 billion mega-merger.

Air Products shares rose as high as $145.18, up 1.3%, in trading Friday.