Rütgers sold to Indian buyer
Historic German firm valued at €702 million
Coal tar chemicals specialist Rütgers, which dates back to 1849, has a new owner in Rain CII, a subsidiary of Indian industrial group Rain Commodities, after its private equity owner Triton agreed a deal valuing it at €702 million. The deal should close in Q1 2013, subject to approval by the relevant regulatory authorities.
According to CEO Henri Steinmetz, Rütgers and Rain “have complementary products and geographic presences”. Rain is one of the world’s largest producers of calcined petroleum coke and is a major supplier to the world’s aluminium industry, which is also the main buyer of Rütgers’ coal tar-based products.
The fine chemicals operations of Rütgers were sold off to ICIG and now form part of WeylChem and other ICIG subsidiaries, while the rest passed through Evonik’s hands before Triton. The company has grown by 25% since 2008 by a mixture of organic growth and joint ventures abroad, most recently the Severtar JV with Russian steel producer Severstal. It now has about 1,000 employees at eight sites in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and Canada, all near coking plants, with a representative office in Shanghai.
Although Rütgers is mainly active in raw materials, some of its products are quite specialised. The Basic Aromatics business line, for instance, extracts phenols, cresols, xylenols, carbazole and anthracene and acetophenone from coal tar and other sources for use in paints, drugs, agrochemicals, fragrances, disinfectants, paper and dyestuffs.
The Superplasticisers & Industrial Dispersants business, meanwhile, takes the 10% naphthalene produced in coal tar via crystallisation and distillation in closed systems for use as flow improvers for concrete. The 35–40% industrial oils that are also produced go into carbon black and various other applications in leather, construction, tyres and pharmaceuticals.
Finally, the Resins & Modifiers business line makes speciality products for niche markets, such as the Novares brand of resins for the adhesive, coating, rubber and printing ink industries as well as modifiers for high-performance coating systems and paper applications.