Ineos in £860m move for US-based Ashland Global

Sir Jim Ratcliffe

Chemicals giant Ineos has agreed to acquire US-based Ashland Global Holdings for £860m.

Ineos, owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe who grew up in Failsworth, Manchester, and is now the UK’s richest man with an estimated fortune of £21bn, said the deal comprises 20 manufacturing sites in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Middle East, employing 1,300 people, generating sales of more than $1.1bn.

The deal is expected to complete in the first half of 2019, subject to regulatory approval and consultation processes.

Ashley Reed, Ineos Enterprises chief executive, said: “Ashland’s composite resins have been the materials of choice for the world’s boat builders for 30 years, and for good reason.

“We believe that they have great potential for growth under Ineos ownership and we are looking forward to working with a great team of people who are determined to meet the developing needs of our customers.”

Ashland’s Composites Business is a global leader in unsaturated polyester resins, vinyl ester resins and gel coats.

Bill Wulfsohn, Ashland chairman and chief executive, said: “Composites and Marl are outstanding businesses with strong market positions and high-performing teams. At the same time, the divestiture of these businesses is consistent with Ashland’s vision of becoming the premier specialty chemicals company.”

PwC’s North West transaction services team provided Ineos Enterprises with financial, tax and pensions due diligence, together with sale and purchase agreement advice to facilitate its acquisition of the entire composites business from Ashland.

The PwC financial team was led by Syedul Hussain, supported by Iain Kyle, Mark McCaw, David Tomlinson, Laura Woodward, James Whyman and Tendai Masanzu.

Tax advice was led by Elisabeth Hunt, with support from Brian O’Neill.

Pension advice was provided Charles Ward and Paul Brunger.

Sale and purchase agreement advice was provided by Trevor Milne, Kevin Clark, Jonny Rodwell and Declan O’Hara.

Syedul Hussain

Syedul Hussain said: “This has been a substantial and complex transaction involving PwC teams both in the UK and the US and I’m delighted that through our longstanding relationship with Ineos we have been able to support them once again in order to complete another successful transaction.”

Andrew Brown, Ineos Enterprises chief financial officer, said: “Ineos have been a longstanding client of PwC and they have supported us through a number of successful transactions.

“I’d like to thank PwC for their excellent support which has enabled us to complete another strategic acquisition.”

Ineos operates a salt production facility at Runcorn, on the River Mersey.

It supplies the full range of quality products including food salts, water softening salts, animal feed, industrial and chemical, and de-icing salts.

Meanwhile, Ineos is believed to be jockeying for another multimillion-pound takeover deal, with reports that American energy giant ConocoPhillips is in exclusive talks to sell its UK oil and gas fields, said to be valued at as much as £2.34bn, to Ineos Group.

It is claimed that Ineos has put down a deposit in return for three months’ exclusivity in negotiations.

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