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Specialty chemicals Clariant announces strategic overhaul with Saudi partner

Clariant sign

Clariant has sealed a restructuring deal with its new large shareholder.


Swiss specialty chemical maker Clariant has signed a memorandum of understanding to enter into a strategic partnership with Saudi Arabian firm SABIC. This will result in a major restructuring of the company along with changes in management and the board of directors.

On Tuesday, Clariant said the collaboration will see the merger of units from both companies into a new High Performance Materials division. This will focus on producing a range of thermoplastics products for the smart electronics, health care, aerospace, automotive, robotics, additive manufacturing, renewable energy, and e-mobility sectors.

Some other business lines, including Clariant’s medical specialties unit, will be sold off by 2020 when the deal with SABIC is expected to be completed, pending regulatory approval. Earlier this month, SABIC took a 25% stake in Clariant.

Clariant said it would have a majority business stake in the collaboration, which it estimates will result in boosting sales to CHF9 billion ($9.4 billion) by 2021 (compared to CHF6.4 billion in 2017). The company made no mention in its media release if the changes would affect jobs at the Basel headquartered firm.

Current Clariant CEO Hariolf Kottmann will become chairman of an expanded board of directors, that will in future include four SABIC nominees. SABIC executive Ernesto Occhiello will take over from Kottmann as CEO.

“The portfolio upgrade together with the continuation of Clariant’s strategy enables the group to realise a significant step change into higher value specialties, which will allow the group to considerably augment value creation for all our stakeholders,” said Kottmann in a statement.

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