Umicore completes sale of zinc units to U.S. private equity firm

LONDON, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Belgian specialty materials group Umicore has completed the sale of its zinc units to U.S. based private equity firm OpenGate Capital for $150 million.

Umicore, with over 10 billion euros ($10.6 billion) in turnover, first announced the sale of its zinc chemicals business in 2015 to focus on clean mobility and recycling amid a drop in earnings.

The zinc business, which was sold in a debt and equity transaction, generates more than 400 million euros in revenue a year and produces fine zinc powders for industrial coatings and zinc for batteries. It was renamed EverZinc by OpenGate Capital.

The U.S. private equity firm has recently bought Italian PVC films manufacturer Alfatherm and is looking to increase investment in the nano-zinc oxide sector, OpenGate chief executive Andrew Nikou told Reuters.

Zinc oxide is used in creams and ointments that treat skin diseases but also to manufacture rubber and cigarettes.

“We find the zinc oxide market very interesting in North America and we have identified a potential target we are in discussion with today that would be an interesting bowtie for EverZinc,” Nikou said. (Reporting by Clara Denina; Editing by Mark Potter)