M&As: Private equity firms bidding for Univar; Borealis acquires majority stake in recycling firm Renasci

M&As: Private equity firms bidding for Univar;  Borealis acquires majority stake in recycling firm Renasci

US chemical distributor Univar Solutions Inc. has attracted interest from potential bidders including private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Platinum Equity, according to a Bloomberg report. With one of largest private transportation fleets for chemicals in the world, Univar has a market value of about US$5.5 billion. The company merged with rival Nexeo Solutions Inc. in 2019 and then sold its plastics business in that same year.

The private equity firms have been studying the business, and suitors are holdings talks with Univar management this month, according to the report.

The interest is preliminary, and there’s no certainty they will proceed with bids. Univar hasn’t made a final decision on a sale and could opt to remain independent.

Univar, based in Downers Grove, Illinois, confirmed it held talks with publicly traded German peer Brenntag SE in November last year. It terminated those discussions this month, saying it would continue talks relating to “other indications of interest.”

A take-private deal for Univar would incur less antitrust risk than a merger with a peer and would likely make it easier to restructure.

Meanwhile, Austrian chemical firm Borealis has acquired a majority stake in Renasci N.V., a Belgium-based provider of recycling solutions and the creator of the Smart Chain Processing (SCP) concept.

Borealis announced the acquisition of a 10% stake in Renasci in July 2021; and has upped an increase of its investment to acquire a majority stake of 50%, signalling on-going confidence in the potential of Renasci’s patented SCP concept to drive the circular transformation. The investment is an important component of Borealis’ strategy to reach its ambitious circular goals, which target a six-fold increase in the volume of circular products and solutions to 600 kilotonnes by 2025, rising to 1.8 million tonnes by 2030. The acquisition will support Borealis to reach these goals by providing increasing long-term access to chemically recycled feedstock from Renasci’s Ostend facility and through enabling access to key circular technologies.

SCP enables the processing of multiple waste streams using different recycling technologies under one roof, resulting in exceptionally high valorisation of waste. Through leveraging its market access, know-how, and innovative technological capabilities, Borealis says it will accelerate the implementation of the SCP concept and will also explore opportunities for replicating the model in strategic locations.

The controlling stake in Renasci will support Borealis to further strengthen its Borcycle C range of product offerings by providing future supply security of chemically recycled feedstock. Borcycle C is a portfolio of transformational chemical recycling solutions with ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) PLUS-certified content based on the mass balance approach, giving polyolefin-based, post-consumer waste another life. Chemically identical to products derived from fossil feedstock, Borcycle C solutions are suitable for all applications, including those that are subject to stringent quality and safety regulations such as healthcare and food packaging, which cannot always be met using mechanically recycled materials.


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