Kraton Corporation, a chemical manufacturer with its head office near George Bush Intercontinental Airport, is to acquired by DL Chemical for $2.5 billion.
About 50 years ago, Kraton invented styrenic block coploymers, a type of synthetic rubber that is strong, durable and flexible. The products are used in products as diverse as asphalt, roofing and diapers. The company was originally a unit of Shell, before being sold to a private-equity firm in 2001. It completed its IPO (initial public offering) in December 2009.
Its main manufacturing location is in Belpre, Ohio, though it also has major facilities in France, Germany and Sweden. The company also has joint ventures in Taiwan and Japan.
In 2016, the company acquired Arizona Chemical for $1.3 billion. In doing so, it pushed its leverage to almost 5x EBITDA. With hindsight, that turned out to be a poor move as the company was hit by the US-China trade war. In 2020 it ended up writing off $400 million of the $771 million goodwill from that acquisition. Margins in its legacy business also declined.
In early July, the company announced that it had hired JP Morgan to explore a potential sale. At the time, the share price was around $32 per share. DL Chemical, which is based in Korea, will pay $46.50 per share. Last year, DL Chemical acquired the Cariflex business from Kraton for $530 million.
The management team are in line for some large severance payments. Kevin Fogarty, CEO since 2008, will get a cash severance of three times base salary plus three times target bonus, or $6 million in total. All options and restricted awards will also vest. That could be worth around $20 million to Mr. Fogarty.
Atanas Atanasov, CFO since 2019, will get three times base and bonus, or $1.7 million. His restricted awards will also vest (I estimate this to be over $4 million).
The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2022.