Kraton Corporation (market cap $1.2 billion), a chemical manufacturer with its head office near George Bush Intercontinental Airport, has appointed Atanas Atanasov as its new CFO.
Mr Atanasov joins from Empire Petroleum Partners in Dallas where he had been CFO since February 2016. Prior to that he was the CFO at NGL Energy Partners in Tulsa and spent 9 years at GE Capital.
Atanasov financial package
He will receive a base salary of $475,000 and a one-time cash signing bonus of $350,000. Mr Atanasov will also receive grants of restricted stock units (‘RSU’);
- $350,000 vesting on the first anniversary
- $250,000 vesting over 3 years
- performance-based RSU’s worth $500,000 that vest on the third anniversary.
Mr Atanasov replaces Steve Tremblay, who left in November 2018 after 10 years as the CFO. Mr Tremblay received a severance payment of $0.8 million.
After Mr Tremblay left, Chris Russell, the Chief Accounting Officer, was appointed as the interim CFO. With Mr Atanasov’s arrival, he will revert to his previous role.
Kraton – high debt load
Kraton has been suffering from a high debt load ($1.5 billion) following its January 2016 acquisition of Arizona Chemical for $1.3 billion in cash. The acquired business hasn’t performed as well as expected.
In February Kraton announced it is considering selling its Cariflex business (revenues $180 million) which makes a synthetic alternative to natural rubber latex.
Class action lawsuit
There is currently a class action lawsuit against the current CEO and former CFO. It alleges that, in 2015 they told investors that they would save $70 million annually by completely overhauling the manufacturing process for Cariflex. This would involve a new proprietary technology that would allow production to be streamlined at a plant in Brazil. The lawsuit alleges that the CEO and former CFO didn’t tell investors about production problems in the manufacturing process. while selling $11 million of stock for personal gain.