M&As: Röhm advances acquisition of Sabic’s PC films/sheet business; BASF Venture invests in recycling start-up DePoly

Methacrylates specialist firm Röhm has signed the agreement for the acquisition of Functional Forms, the polycarbonate-based films and sheet business unit of chemical firm Sabic for an undisclosed sum. Röhm, which is backed by global private equity firm Advent International, had last year announced its intention to purchase the unit.

Röhm touts the acquisition, as a “key cornerstone” of its strategy to develop its transparent semi-finished products business into a leading global multi-polymer player.

Led by its recognised brand Lexan, picked up in the 2007 acquisition of GE Engineering Plastics, Sabic’s Functional Forms business manufactures high-end sheet and film products used across a wide variety of industries, ranging from building and construction to consumer electronics, medicine and aviation.

“This acquisition is a milestone on our road towards becoming a world-leading multi-materials manufacturer of high quality, transparent films and sheet,” said CEO of Röhm, Michael Pack. “Our customers will now be able to acquire leading Plexiglass/Acrylite and Lexan products out of one hand and can draw on unparalleled technical and application expertise.”

Rohm says its Plexiglas and Acrylite brand “represents one of the world’s highest-quality and most versatile acrylic products”. The acquisition of Functional Forms from Sabic not only further strengthens Rohm's leading position in in transparent sheets, but also strengthens its position in films and transportation.

The German firm says that Lexan complements its acrylic glass brand sold as Plexiglas everywhere except the Americas, where it is known as Acrylite.

BASF Venture invests in recycling start-up DePoly

In other news, BASF Venture Capital GmbH (BVC), the corporate venture company of chemical firm BASF Group, has announced an investment in Swiss start-up DePoly SA, a sustainable plastic solutions provider developing a unique chemical recycling technology. Founded in 2020, the company has developed a chemical recycling technology that converts mixed post-consumer and post-industrial polyester plastic waste streams, as well as polyester-containing fabrics and fibres, back into their precursors at virgin-grade quality.

This process is energy efficient — operating at room temperature and standard pressure, without the need for pre-sorting, pre-washing, or removal of contaminant materials. For BVC this investment underlines BASF’s ongoing commitment to developing sustainable solutions for a circular economy.

BVC co-led DePoly’s CHF12.3M seed financing round along with Wingman Ventures, with the participation of Beiersdorf, Infinity Recycling, CIECH Ventures, Angel Invest, and others. The proceeds of the financing round will enable DePoly to accelerate the scale-up and development of its depolymerisation process, leading to the building of a demonstration plant expected to be operational in 2024.

Plastics are an essential part of everyday life. But only about 10% are recycled, with the majority going to incineration or landfill. As brand owners increasingly aim for higher recycled content rates in their products, the demand for advanced recycling technologies is expected to grow. DePoly offers a unique solution to address this need.

BASF says it aims to move toward a more Circular Economy by increasingly using recycled and renewable feedstocks, shaping new material cycles and creating new business models.

BASF is therefore running a Circular Economy Program. By the year 2030, the company aims to double its sales generated with solutions for the circular economy to EUR17 billion. One example for these efforts is its ChemCycling business. The investment in DePoly is another commitment towards supporting this goal.


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