MIDDLEBURY, Conn. (Nov. 10) — Lion Chemical Capital L.L.C. has agreed to buy Chemtura Corp.´s EPDM and rubber chemicals business and plant in Geismer, La., the third major rubber industry purchase by the firm since 2004.
Peter De Leeuw, Lion Chemical managing director, said the two businesses will merge into the Lion Copolymer L.L.C. operation, based in Baton Rouge, La., and be run as one company. Paul Saunders, president and CEO of Lion Copolymer, will manage the 250-employee Geismar business, too.
The purchase agreement, for an undisclosed sum, is expected to be worked out by the end of the year, and the acquisition completed not long after that. Chemtura said it will use the proceeds of the sale to pay down debt.
The Geismar facility originally was owned by Uniroyal Chemical and produces Royalene, Royaltherme, Royal Edge and Trilene EPDM and rubber chemicals. Lion Chemical also will own the Flexzone antiozonants business, worldwide, Chemtura said. The Geismar operation generates annual sales of about $300 million.
Lion Chemical and partner ACI Capital Co. Inc. in 2004 purchased PolyOne Corp.´s rubber compounding business and operates it as Excel Polymers L.L.C. Last year it bought the Copolymer business from DSM N.V.
De Leeuw said the facility has a reputation for producing a high-quality product. He called the operation "first class," with an outstanding safety record, and boasting a very experienced staff.
The deal will be a coming home of sorts for Lion Copolymer. The onetime Copolymer Rubber & Chemical Corp. business for a number of years operated an EPDM facility in Addis, La., which competed with the Uniroyal Chemical operation. After it bought Copolymer from Armtek Inc., DSM separated the EPDM business from the SBR operation and then later closed the Addis operation.