M&As: Bain Capital acquires India’s Porus Labs; Elkem acquires VUM to further expand offering in carbon solutions

Bain Capital acquires India’s Porus Labs

Private investment firm Bain Capital Private Equity has announced the acquisition of Porus Labs, an Indian manufacturer of agricultural and speciality chemicals. Bain Capital’s resources and industry experience will enable Porus Labs to unlock significant growth through investments in talent, business development, capacity expansion, process engineering and developing or acquiring distinctive chemical capabilities. Financial terms of the private transaction were not disclosed.

Founded in 1994 in Hyderabad, Porus Labs brings significant specialised knowledge in segments such as speciality polymers, electronic chemicals and agrochemicals. The company’s continuous efforts to increase capabilities through investments in R&D, process improvement and business development capabilities have resulted in robust organic growth and positioned it as a trusted partner of global customers in the industry.

"We are very excited to build a platform in the specialty chemicals contract development and manufacturing space, leveraging Porus Labs' expertise and strong market position. We have high conviction in the industry's growth prospects and see immense potential for expanding the company's market by building or acquiring differentiated chemical capabilities in key sectors,” said Rishi Mandawat, a Partner at Bain Capital Private Equity.

“Porus Labs has been a trusted partner to large global customers for nearly three decades. Our customer-centric approach and chemistry capabilities have helped us gain strategic importance amongst our customers. We enjoyed interacting with the Bain Capital team over the last few months and are pleased to entrust Bain Capital to take Porus Labs on to its next stage of growth. We are confident in our ability to unlock the full potential of our market-leading position through this transformative partnership with Bain Capital by leveraging their extensive industry expertise and global network.” said Srinivasan Namala, CEO at Porus Labs.

The transaction is subject to receipt of necessary approvals from all relevant authorities.

In other news, Elkem ASA has acquired VUM, a Slovak producer of carbon materials. The transaction will further increase Elkem's capacity and competence in attractive specialty markets and increase its flexibility in the supply chain. Elkem expects the acquisition to contribute with an additional turnover of around NOK360 million per year.

VUM was founded in 1954 and currently has around 65 employees at a plant located near the town of Žiar nad Hronom in the centre of Slovakia. The company is an independent producer of carbon-based materials for industrial smelters, including anode paste, electrode paste and ramming paste as well as recarburisers. These are important materials to support the production of metals that the world needs.

"With the acquisition of VUM, Elkem continues to deliver on its strategy of growth and specialisation. This transaction gives Elkem improved access to central and eastern European markets. We look forward to working with our new colleagues in Slovakia and to further improve our joint value offering to our customers. Elkem also aims to realise synergies from optimising our value chain and utilising existing production capacity to serve other attractive export markets," says Luiz Simao, Elkem's senior vice president for Carbon Solutions.

VUM has a calcining technology based on rotary kilns furnaces which adds flexibility to handle different raw materials. R&D work by VUM will also add competence and knowledge to Elkem's competence centre for carbon in Norway. Slovakia's electricity generation is mainly emissions-free, with nuclear and hydropower as the country's two largest power sources.

Elkem will provide VUM with resources and best-in-class industry expertise to improve efficiency, value offering and economies of scale. The combination of being both a producer and consumer of carbon solutions gives Elkem a strong position with high quality products and superior technical support for improving electrode management and processes at customer operations.

"Elkem has had a leading role as technology provider and supplier of specialty carbon products to the pyro-metallurgical industry since the invention of the Søderberg electrode in 1919. We aim to be an industry leader and we are constantly developing our offering to be best suited for our partners and customers, as demonstrated by this transaction. We are committed to growing and expanding our business in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way," says Simao.

With the transaction complete, VUM will rebrand and operate under Elkem Carbon AS, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Elkem ASA. VUM will continue the operations under its current management.


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