Prepared Foods October 18, 2004 enewsletter

Degussa AG, the world's largest specialty chemicals company, is preparing to sell its food ingredients division for as much as $866.2 million, according to a published report.

Germany's Degussa has hired investment bank Lazard to find a buyer for Degussa Food Ingredients GmbH, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

The food ingredients division is likely to be pursued by private-equity funds, as well as some other firms involved in similar industries, such as Kerry Group PLC of Ireland, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the company. Spokespeople for Lazard and Kerry declined to comment to the Journal.

Degussa has sold 19 businesses since the February 2001 merger of Degussa-Huls AG and SKW Trostberg, the Journal reported, citing a company spokeswoman. The company has been shedding units that do not fit with its focus on specialty chemicals, she added.

However, the sale of the food ingredients division is not a part of the group's overall divestment plan, the spokeswoman told the Journal. She declined to elaborate.

Degussa's food ingredients business division consists of two business lines, one that makes flavoring systems and one that makes texturizing agents.