Flash News – US Huntsman and Swiss Clariant mutually agree to abandon Planned Merger of Equals

Huntsman Corporation and Clariant on October 27, 2017 jointly announced that they have terminated their proposed merger of equals by mutual agreement. The decision was unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of Huntsman and Clariant.

In a joint statement, Peter R. Huntsman, President and CEO of Huntsman, and Hariolf Kottmann, CEO of Clariant, stated:

“While we remain convinced that the proposed merger of equals as agreed to on May 21, 2017, is in the long term best interests of all of our shareholders, given the continued accumulation of shares by activist investor White Tale Holdings and their opposition to the transaction, now supported by some other shareholders, we believe that there is simply too much uncertainty as to whether Clariant will be able to secure the two-thirds shareholder approval that is required to approve the transaction under Swiss law. Under these circumstances and in light of the high level of disruption and uncertainty that has been created for both companies, we have decided jointly to terminate the merger agreement, stop the substantial expenditure of funds associated with integration planning, and proceed along our independent paths in the best interests of both companies and their shareholders, associates, and other stakeholders. We, of course, remain competitors but maintain a great respect for one another, and we want to recognize and express our mutual and deep appreciation for the efforts and incredible commitment demonstrated by the associates of each company over the past several months.”

No fees are currently payable under the terms of the Termination Agreement. (TextileFuture: There were speculations that fees in the order of CHF 650 to CHF 850 million would have to be paid if one party would bow out! White Tale Holdings opposing the merger increased stake to above 20%, which probably let to the turn down of the merger between Huntsman and Clariant)

Peter Huntsman further commented:

“We viewed this merger of equals as an opportunity to accelerate our downstream growth and for two great companies to become even better together.   However, it is not the only option for Huntsman to create real and lasting value. Going forward, we will continue to create shareholder value by delivering on four objectives:

  • Continued focus on growth and expanding margins in our differentiated and specialty businesses through both organic growth and appropriate bolt-on acquisitions;
  • Consistent strong annual free cash flow and deleveraging, reaching investment grade metrics beginning in 2018;
  • Monetization of the remaining Venator shares, further strengthening the balance sheet; and
  • Upon achieving investment grade metrics, return of additional value to shareholders.

“Our future has never looked brighter.  The Company’s balance sheet is stronger than it has ever been and will strengthen further as we continue to generate strong cash flow from our operations and monetize our Venator equity.   We also look forward to wide scale improvement this year over the previous in earnings, growth and margin expansion.”

Huntsman Corporation is a publicly traded global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated and specialty chemicals with 2016 revenues of more than USD 7 billion.  Our chemical products number in the thousands and are sold worldwide to manufacturers serving a broad and diverse range of consumer and industrial end markets. We operate more than 75 manufacturing, R&D and operations facilities in over 30 countries and employ approximately 10000 associates within our four distinct business divisions.

At a telephone conference Clariant CEO Hariolf Kottmann voiced that even with this outcome he wishes to stay as CEO of Clariant.

Clariant is a globally leading specialty chemicals company, based in Muttenz near Basel/Switzerland. On December 31, 2016 the company employed a total workforce of 17442. In the financial year 2016, Clariant recorded sales of CHF 5.847 billion for its continuing businesses. The company reports in four business areas: Care Chemicals, Catalysis, Natural Resources, and Plastics & Coatings. Clariant’s corporate strategy is based on five pillars: focus on innovation through R&D, add value with sustainability, reposition portfolio, intensify growth, and increase profitability.