Long seen as partners, Huntsman and Clariant seal $14 billion merger

Tue May 23, 2017 3:53am EDT
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By Ludwig Burger, John Miller and Greg Roumeliotis

ZURICH/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - U.S.-based Huntsman Corp (HUN.N: Quote) and Switzerland's Clariant AG (CLN.S: Quote) are combining to create a chemical manufacturer with a market value of about $14 billion, the deal coming together after years of tentative mutual approaches.

The HuntsmanClariant specialty chemicals company will be 52 percent owned by Clariant shareholders and valued at around $20 billion when including debt, Clariant said in a statement.

Many European companies have turned to dealmaking as growth in the chemicals industry has slowed. European businesses have particularly suffered, losing market share to rivals in Asia, where demand is growing more quickly, or to North America, where energy is cheaper.

Huntsman, controlled by the eponymous Mormon family, is best known for inventing the clam-shell styrofoam box for McDonald's Big Mac burgers.

Based in the Texan town of Woodlands, Huntsman chemicals are also used in paint, clothing and construction. Clariant makes aircraft de-icing fluids, pesticide ingredients and plastic coloring.

The ownership split broadly reflects the relative weighting of each side's equity market value, though the U.S. group is larger in terms of revenue.

The companies are stressing their equal footing in the deal.

Peter Huntsman, the son of the company founder, will become chief executive of the combined group while Clariant CEO Hariolf Kottmann will be its chairman.   Continued...

A screen displays trading information for Huntsman Corp. on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 22, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid