The president of Rhein Chemie Corp. expects the new owners of his company will encourage management's ``entrepreneurial spirit'' when the deal to buy the rubber chemical supplier is completed.
Advent International Corp., a Boston-based equity investment firm, in October agreed to acquire Bayer A.G.'s Rhein Chemie Rheinau GmbH subsidiary for $212 million, including the assumption of debt. The deal includes Rhein Chemie affiliates in the U.S. and Japan, a 90-percent interest in a Chinese joint venture and a wholly owned subsidiary in Germany. Bayer had announced last December its intent to sell Rhein Chemie and other businesses deemed non-core.
Officials expect the deal to close by the end of November. They don't anticipate any roadblocks because Advent doesn't own any competing businesses and Rhein Chemie, although a Bayer subsidiary since 1971, operated fairly independently, according to Wolfgang Kober, president of Rhein Chemie Corp., which oversees the Rhein Chemie operations in North and South America.
``Bayer gave Rhein Chemie a great opportunity to develop its business around the world, but it was never an integrated entity,'' Kober said. ``We had no integrated plants with Bayer. Even research and development was separate.''
Kober is excited by the possibilities he foresees being under Advent ownership. ``Our big hope when Bayer announced it would sell us last December was to get a partner who will support us for future growth,'' he said. ``Advent, along with the other acquisitions they have completed, proved they can provide that support.''
Advent has more than 50 investments worldwide in the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. Its investments in European companies include polyvinyl chloride makers Vinnolit GmbH & Co. K.G. and Vestolit GmbH & Co. K.G. in Germany and Inspec Group P.L.C. in Great Britain.
Kober, a 14-year company veteran, said customers can expect a faster-reacting supplier once the change is concluded. ``Advent strengthens our entrepreneurial spirit,'' he said. ``They want us to manage the business. It's exciting that we are put in this position. I think it will be a positive change for the company.''
Rhein Chemie has 1,100 employees worldwide and reported 2001 sales of $273 million. It has manufacturing in Europe, North America, Japan and China.
The supplier has a wide range of specialty materials for the rubber, lubricant and plastics industries. Besides its own product range of release agents, vulcanization agents and polymer-bound chemicals for the rubber processing industry, Rhein Chemie Corp. also distributes Bayer's rubber polymer product and rubber chemical lines in the U.S. under a contract that is expected to continue, Kober said.
With its broad product line, Rhein Chemie is in an excellent position to help customers, according to Kober.
``Rhein Chemie has one of the broadest portfolios in the market area,'' he said. ``Rhein Chemie can focus on the customer and find the optimum solution to specific problems.''