Foundry chemicals group ASK put up for sale: sources

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - ASK Chemicals, a maker or chemicals used in foundries, has been put up for sale by its private equity owner amid a flurry of dealmaking in the chemicals sector, people close to the matter said.

Buyout group Rhone Capital is working with Citi on the deal, which may value the Germany-based supplier of binders, additives, feeders, filters and metallurgical products at up to 500 million euros ($559 million), the people said.

Rhone, which bought ASK Chemical from former joint owners Clariant and Ashland for $350 million in 2014, is expected to send out information packages to potential buyers in mid May, they added.

Rhone and Citi declined to comment.

Rhone is expected to market ASK Chemical to peers such as Vesuvius, Imerys, RHI, Huettenes-Albertus as well as private equity firms, the people said.

“ASK is heavily geared toward foundries, typically suppliers to the auto industry. So the question will be whether they want to increase their exposure to that sector,” one of the people said.

ASK is expected to post earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization of about 65 million euros this year and may be valued at 7-8 times that based on past deals in the sector, the sources said.

The sale comes as chemicals groups such as BASF and Clariant are shedding non-core assets specializing in products for the construction industry or for makers of paints and coatings, and after Evonik struck a deal to sell its methacrylates plastics unit.

Editing by Mark Potter