July 23/Monheim, Germany/Prepared Foods -- Specialty chemicals supplier Cognis announced the sale of its 50% stake in the Cognis Oleochemicals joint venture to PTT Chemical International Private Ltd., a Singapore-based subsidiary of PTT Chemical Public Company Limited. PTT Chemical is Thailand’s largest producer of olefins and associated products. The sale is in line with Cognis’ strategy of focusing on its core businesses driven by the wellness and sustainability trends. Agreements respecting the transfer of the business and related transactions were signed in Kuala Lumpur effective June 30, 2008. The final transaction is subject to usual closing conditions including regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed by the end of September 2008.

Cognis has sold its 50% stake in the joint venture company to PTT Chemical International for about 104 million euros in cash, representing an enterprise value of 285 million euros for the whole joint venture company.

Cognis already has established a successful relationship with PTT Chemical: In 2005, they founded Thai Ethoxylate Ltd., a 50/50 joint venture and Thailand’s first producer of fatty alcohol ethoxylate. 2006 saw the founding of Thai Fatty Alcohols Company Ltd., a 50/50 joint venture between Cognis and PTT Chemical’s subsidiary Thai Oleochemicals for the production and marketing of fatty alcohols.

Cognis Oleochemicals is a major producer of natural-based oleochemical products and until now was a 50/50 joint venture between Sime Darby Plantation Sdn Bhd. and Cognis. It operates production sites in Europe, North America and Asia and achieved sales of 729 million euros, including 130 million euros deliveries to Cognis in 2007. Cognis and Sime Darby have been collaborating on the production, marketing and distribution of fatty acids, glycerin and associated products for almost 30 years. In 2006, both companies expanded the scope of their existing joint venture by transferring Cognis’ global oleochemicals and plastics technology businesses into an operating company.

Comments Antonio Trius, CEO of Cognis, “The sale of our stake in Cognis Oleochemicals reflects our strategy to consistently concentrate on the innovation-driven growth markets of wellness and sustainability. On the basis of our excellent experiences with Sime Darby and PTT Chemical over many years, we are convinced that the new joint venture offers synergies that will help Oleochemicals to further develop its businesses. By selling our stake to well known partners, we ensure a stable supply of our oleochemical basestocks is secured, as we are intending to continue sourcing products from the business under normal third-party commercial terms.”

“PTT Chemical is delighted to join with Sime Darby in a strategic partnership that builds a solid platform and provides unprecedented opportunities for Cognis Oleochemicals’ long-term growth and stability,” said Aditheb Bisalbutr, PTT Chemical president and CEO.

Cognis Oleochemicals will continue to operate under the Cognis Oleochemicals name for an interim period until a new name is established.  

From the August 4, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash