Johnson Matthey announces that it has completed the purchase of Formox AB for £107 million in cash from Perstorp Specialty Chemicals AB, a company owned by PAI Partners. Formox is a leading global provider of catalysts, plant designs and licences for the manufacture of formaldehyde, an important chemical intermediate.
Johnson Matthey acquires Formox
Formox has developed a market leading range of novel metal oxide based catalysts for the production of formaldehyde from methanol and is the leading provider of process technology for metal oxide based formaldehyde production plants with an installed base of around 130 plants worldwide. Formox also provides a full recycling and refining service for spent metal oxide catalysts and manufactures platinum based VOC abatement catalysts for formaldehyde plants.
Formox’s technologies complement Johnson Matthey’s existing strengths in process catalysts and in plant design and licensing. The acquisition enhances its position as a leading supplier of technology for a range of syngas and other chemical processes. The addition of Formox’s formaldehyde technology provides exciting opportunities to integrate and expand technology and catalysts into a broader range of chemical processes. Formox’s expertise in selective oxidation catalysis, a technology that has application in a number of other catalyst areas, also provides additional opportunities for Johnson Matthey to grow its position in the global petrochemicals market.
In the year to 31st December 2012 Formox had sales of SEK 492 million (£50.1 million) and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) of SEK 124 million (£12.6 million). Formox employs around 90 people and has manufacturing, R&D, engineering and sales facilities in Sweden. It also has sales offices in the USA, Singapore and China. Formox will be integrated into Johnson Matthey’s Process Technologies business.
Commenting on the transaction, Neil Carson, Chief Executive of Johnson Matthey said: “The acquisition of Formox complements our existing technologies for process catalysts, plant design and licensing. Formox has a strong position in a growing and profitable market which gives Johnson Matthey new opportunities to grow its sales of catalysts and process technology into the wider petrochemicals market.”
Formaldehyde is an important chemical building block with many applications. These include the manufacture of a wide range of chemical products, such as 1,4-butanediol (BDO), which are used in synthetic polymers for paints, plastics, artificial fibres and other applications. It is also used in the production of resins for the construction and wood products industries. Global demand for formaldehyde is forecast to grow by around 4% per annum with stronger growth in China (averaging 7.2% per annum).
Formox supplies metal oxide based catalysts for the manufacture of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde can also be produced using silver catalysts, a process that tends to be used in lower volume, lower technology production facilities. Metal oxide based catalysts are more advanced than silver catalysts for this process and offer improved efficiency and higher yields. The market for these metal oxide based catalyst systems is expected to grow at rates above global demand for formaldehyde as they are increasingly used to replace silver based catalysts in formaldehyde production processes.
Ian Godwin, Director, IR and Corporate Communications
020 7269 8410
Robert MacLeod, Group Finance Director
020 7269 8484
Howard Lee, The Headland Consultancy
020 7367 5225
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