Solvay offers to buy bankrupt Plextronics for USD33 mn

US-based conductive polymers firm Plextronics has filed a voluntary petition under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code and a motion seeking authorisation to pursue a sale process with Solvay as a "stalking horse" bidder. Under the proposed agreement, Belgium-based Solvay will acquire substantially all of the assets of Plextronics for around US$33 million. Solvay is Plextronics' largest minority shareholder and invested US$15 million in 2011. The Belgian company has investments in other plastic electronic materials developers, including Polyera - another US firm developing printable semiconductor inks, but focusing on logic and transistors. Plextronics is a Carnegie Mellon University unit that was spun-off in 2002, is headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and develops customised inks to enhance the performance of organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) for next generation displays and lighting applications, lithium ion batteries, polymer metal capacitors, and emerging organic electronic devices.

"The Board and management team have conducted a rigorous assessment of all of our strategic options and concluded that this process represents the best possible solution for Plextronics to help unlock the value of Plexcore inks," said Richard McCullough, Chairman of the Board of Plextronics. "We are committed to an outcome that maximises value and allows Plexcore to remain commercially available to all customers. Further, we are thankful to our dedicated employees who continue to work vigorously to develop and provide Plexcore materials to all customers throughout this process."

The proposed bidding procedures, if approved by the Bankruptcy Court, would require interested parties to submit binding offers to acquire Plextronics’ assets by February 28, 2014. Such parties could include strategic and financial bidders. Assuming qualified bids are submitted, an auction would then be held. A final sale approval hearing is anticipated to take place shortly after the auction with the anticipated closing to occur by the end of March 2014.

Meanwhile, Solvay has closed a major strategic investment in Aonix Advanced Materials Corp. and acquired a minority stake in the company. The investment lays the foundation for Solvay to enter the thermoplastic composites market.

In related news, Solvay also confirms that the planned divestment of its 70.59% stake in Solvay Indupa to Brazil's leading chemical producer Braskem is underway.


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