LONDON (Sept. 11)—Royal Dutch/Shell Group has agreed to sell its global Kraton Polymers styrenic block copolymer business to an affiliate of Ripplewood Holdings L.L.C., a New York-based private equity investment firm, for an undisclosed sum. Kraton will be the first chemicals business acquired by Ripplewood, which manages around $2.7 billion of capital, encompassing automotive retail, food manufacturing and technology, industrial manufacturing and supplemental education sectors. Shell put the Kraton business up for sale in December 1998 following a review of its businesses. With annual sales of around $600 million and 950 employees, Kraton supplies styrenic block copolymers for use in adhesives and sealants, asphalt/bitumen modification, footwear and molded and extruded products. The company manufactures the thermoplastic elastomers at plants in the U.S., The Netherlands, Germany, France and Brazil, as well as in Japan via a joint venture with JSR Corp. "Kraton Polymers will act as the anchor of ouir global specialty chemicals portfolio," Ripplewood Managing Director Ian Snow said.