Akzo Nobel N.V. (AkzoNobel) on Monday announced the sale of its National Starch business to Illinois-based Corn Products International for $1.3 billion in cash and the assumption of certain pension and employee-benefit liabilities.
The transaction, which has been approved by the boards of AkzoNobel and Corn Products International, is expected to close at the end of the third quarter, subject to regulatory approvals, AkzoNobel said.
Corn Products International, based in Westchester, Ill., is a major global supplier of ingredient solutions for diversified industries.
National Starch, a subsidiary of the former ICI plc, was absorbed by AkzoNobel as part of the acquisition of ICI in January 2008. "While it was regarded as an excellent business, the board of AkzoNobel concluded that National Starch did not offer sufficient opportunity to create value within the company's transformed coatings and specialty-chemicals portfolio," AkzoNobel said in an announcement on the sale.
National Starch is a manufacturer of food ingredients and specialty starches for papermaking, consumer, and industrial markets. The business reported 2009 revenue of $1.2 billion. The company's product range includes materials used in adhesives, coatings, and polymers; construction mortars, pastes, and cements; packaging; and other materials.
AkzoNobel disclosed in April that it had received "renewed expressions of interest" in National Starch, which had accordingly been reclassified as a discontinued operation.
AkzoNobel CEO Hans Wijers said the sale reflects a "strong focus on our core business and confirms AkzoNobel's transformation into the world's largest global coatings and specialty chemicals company." He added, "We can look to the future with much confidence, as we are well positioned to capture growth both organically and by selected acquisitions."
Ilene Gordon, chairman, president, and CEO of Corn Products International, said the acquisition of National Starch "represents an exceptional opportunity for Corn Products International and a significant step forward toward achieving our strategic goals." She said the acquisition "aligns with our strategic priorities to grow our ingredient portfolio, increase our presence in priority food-processing segments, enter new markets, and develop innovative solutions that better serve our customers."