M&As: Westlake to acquire Hexion’s epoxy biz for US$1.2 bn; Solvay invests in lithium battery maker Sepion

Reliance shelves US$15-bn Aramco stake; to focus on clean energy

US-based Westlake Chemical Corporation is to acquire Hexion’s global epoxy business for approximately US$1.2 billion. Based in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Hexion’s epoxy business manufactures specialty resins, coatings and composites for a variety of industries, including end-uses such as wind turbine blades and light-weight automotive structural components. In the twelve months ended September 30, 2021, Hexion’s epoxy business had net sales of approximately US$1.5 billion.

With this transaction, which is anticipated to be completed in the first half of 2022 following customary closing conditions, Westlake will significantly expand its integrated business by adding a downstream portfolio of coatings and composite products to its leading chloro-vinyls businesses.

“Light-weighting is a critical feature for the manufacture of structural components for automobiles and for renewable energy, particularly the composite blades used by wind turbines, and epoxies are key ingredients for these sustainable products,” said Westlake President and Chief Executive Officer Albert Chao. “The industries served by Hexion Epoxy are very attractive to Westlake and the business is expected to be a synergistic addition to Westlake’s existing businesses. We look forward to welcoming the Hexion epoxy employees to the Westlake family and realizing the tremendous opportunities to grow the combined businesses.”

Hexion Epoxy is a global producer of epoxy resins, modifiers and curing agents for high-performance materials, coatings and composites. The fully-integrated business includes upstream base epoxy resins and intermediates delivered as liquid or solid epoxy resins, as well downstream specialty epoxy resins used in coatings and composites. Hexion Epoxy operates globally on three continents with eight manufacturing facilities and five research and development labs located in Asia, Europe and the United States, as well as tolling sites in Asia.

Headquartered in Houston, Westlake is a global manufacturer and supplier of materials for building products and infrastructure materials, to packaging and healthcare products, to automotive and consumer goods.

In other news, Solvay Ventures, the venture capital fund of Solvay, has invested in Sepion, a California-based start-up that specialises in developing batteries with Li-metal anodes and liquid electrolytes. The US$16 million round was led by Fine Structure Ventures, and also includes other climate tech investors. The company raised funds to accelerate commercialisation of lithium metal batteries for long-range and low-cost electric vehicles.

Li-metal batteries enable high energy density and are strongly sought-after solutions for the electric vehicles market. However, the growth of dendrites can cause the batteries to fail and prevents them from having long life cycles. Sepion’s technology, which is based on an innovative polymeric membrane, prevents the growth of dendrites.

Solvay adds it has long been providing innovative solutions to the battery market, and has accelerated this trend through the creation of a battery growth platform. The acceleration of electrification represents a significant opportunity to bring transformative technologies to the EV market, it says.

“This is exactly the mission of our battery platform and by investing in Sepion’s technology, we are progressing in our journey to enable safer, more performing and more sustainable batteries.” said Mike Finelli, President of Growth Initiatives at Solvay.


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