Lanxess bets on disinfectants with $1.3 billion deal

(Reuters) -German specialty chemicals maker Lanxess agreed to acquire International Flavors & Fragrances’ (IFF) microbial control unit for $1.3 billion, in a move to capitalise on buoyant demand for disinfectants and surface cleaners.

Lanxess’s purchase of the IFF unit - a maker of ingredients in antifouling paint for ships, personal care products and detergents for livestock farmers - will more than double EBITDA at Lanxess’s consumer protection unit, which has benefited from surging disinfectants demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lanxess this month raised its 2021 profit outlook for the second time this year driven by demand for disinfectants and automotive plastics.

Reuters reported last month that IFF had short-listed Lanxess and private equity-owned LSI for the sale of its microbial control unit.

The acquisition is expected to be earnings per share accretive in the first fiscal year after closing, the company statement said.

Within four years of the deal closing, Lanxess said it expects synergies to add about $35 million in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

Credit Suisse analysts said the deal was a “small positive” as it reinforced the more stable consumer protection business. Lanxess shares were up 1.4% at 58.48 euros at 0855 GMT, outperforming the STOXX Europe 600 Chemicals, which was little changed.

IFF, whose core business is scents and tastes for products that are household names, said the cash proceeds from the deal will be primarily used to reduce outstanding debt.

The companies added they expect the deal to close in the second quarter of 2022.

Lanxess also said it has secured bridge financing for the deal, which is expected to be refinanced with senior corporate bonds.

IFF in 2019 agreed to merge with DuPont’s $26 billion nutrition and biosciences unit, creating a new consumer giant. This year it put the microbial control unit up for sale with the help of Bank of America as it sought to shake off some assets inherited from the DuPont deal.

The microbial control unit makes biocides used in the oil and gas industry as well as for water treatment and hygiene purposes.

It has about 270 employees with two production facilities in the U.S. and an estimated 2021 annual revenue of about $440 million, IFF said.

($1 = 0.8513 euros)

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru and Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; editing by Chris Reese and Keith Weir