Clariant chairman says would look at a Sued-Chemie-sized deal

ZURICH, March 23 Sat Mar 23, 2013 9:59am EDT

ZURICH, March 23 (Reuters) - Clariant would consider another deal of similar size to Sued-Chemie, a German chemical firm it acquired in 2011 for roughly $2 billion, its chairman told a newspaper.

"If another Sued-Chemie came along tomorrow, then we would look at it very carefully," Rudolf Wehrli is quoted in an interview with Saturday's edition of Swiss daily Basler Zeitung.

The comments are more assertive than ones made in February, when Chief Executive Hariolf Kottmann said Clariant would look at bolt-on acquisitions to round out technological or regional gaps, but nothing the size of Sued-Chemie.

Wehrli backed Clariant's 2015 EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) margin target of more than 17 percent, compared with 14.9 percent achieved in 2012 and group margins of 14.3 percent a year earlier.

He didn't elaborate on targets for 2013 or 2014, which Clariant hasn't disclosed.

The company, which sold three of its lower-margin cyclical units late last year, is currently looking to streamline even further with the sale of leather, detergents and intermediates businesses.

In December, Clariant sold its textile chemicals, paper speciality chemicals and emulsions units to U.S. private equity firm SK Capital for 502 million Swiss francs ($533.93 million) as part of its effort to retreat from low-margin businesses. ($1 = 0.9402 Swiss francs) (Reporting By Katharina Bart; editing by James Jukwey)

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