* Analysts expect Zachert to tackle overcapacity
* Lanxess shares up almost 9 pct, Merck shares down 10 pct
* Zachert had been seen as potential next Merck CEO
(Adds analyst, Zachert, Kley comments, updates shares)
FRANKFURT, Jan 27 Shares in Lanxess
rose almost 9 percent on Monday after news the German synthetic
rubber specialist had attracted its former finance director back
from Merck KGaA to be its CEO, fuelling speculation he
may tackle overcapacity.
Shares in drugmaker Merck meanwhile, which have gained 30
percent over the last year, dropped 10 percent following the
announcement late on Sunday of the departure of Matthias
Zachert, who had been viewed as a potential future CEO.
Zachert, who has been working as finance chief at Merck,
will replace Axel Heitmann at the helm of Lanxess, who is
leaving after eight years.
Zachert is well regarded by financial markets and investors
after helping, alongside Heitmann, to set up Lanxess following
its spin-off from Bayer and for playing a key role in
Lanxess, the world's largest maker of synthetic rubber for
tyres, door sealants and windscreen wipers, is in the midst of
an overhaul including job cuts and potential asset sales. But it
is also looking into takeovers in the medium term to ease its
dependence on the automobile sector.
Zachert was given a warm welcome by analysts covering
Lanxess, with some hoping that he would rein in investment.
A shift from upgrading existing plants to building new ones,
had created overcapacity over the past two to three years, Bank
of America Merrill Lynch analysts said in a research note.
"Zachert may well have something close to a 'carte blanche'
in terms of implementing change," they said, upgrading the stock
to 'buy' from 'neutral'.
UBS analysts lauded Zachert as "extremely fit" to prudently
"Biggest change to expect is capex policy - somewhat out of
tilt as of late," they said.
In a call with journalists, Zachert said had been drawn by
the chance to fix what he described as a state of disarray at
"It was indeed the attachment to the old company and also
the realisation that not everything was in order ... people used
to stand like one man behind the company and things are
obviously not going in that direction any more."
While Merck boss Karl-Ludwig Kley said on the call that
Zachert would have been a serious contender to succeed him, he
signalled he had no plans to make way.
He said his contract runs until September 2016 and that at
the age of 62 he was well shy of the official age limit of 75
for his role at Merck.
"I enjoy my job," he said.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Frank Siebelt; Additional
reporting by Victoria Bryan and Daniela Pegna; Editing by Mark