Lanxess, Bayer to exit Currenta stake
Lanxess and its former parent Bayer have signed an agreement to sell their respective 40% and 60% stakes in Currenta to funds managed by Australia-based Macquarie Infrastructure & Real Assets (MIRA). MIRA is said to be the world's largest infrastructure investor, with about €115 billion in assets under management.
Currenta manages and operates infrastructure, energy supply and other services across three German chemical parks at Leverkusen (pictured), Dormagen and Krefeld-Ürdingen. The deal, which gives it a total enterprise value of €3.5 billion, before deductions of net debt and pension obligations, is subject to regulatory approval. Lanxess expects to hold its stake, worth about €780 million net, until up to the end of April, during which time it will be entitled to a profit participation in Currenta.
As one of Currenta’s main customers at the sites, which account for a large part of its global operations, it will give MIRA operational support during the transition phase. The two have also concluded a ten-year service and supply agreement. “The heart of Lanxess production beats at the Lower Rhine sites. It was therefore crucial for us that the future Currenta owner structure should safeguard our strategic interest in an industry-oriented set-up of the chemical parks,” said Matthias Zachert, chairman of the board of management.
Bayer had been seeking to sell its €1.17 billion stake since November 2018, due mainly to the carve-out of Covestro and its changing focus, and it aims to exit earlier, within Q4 2019. It has concluded similar long-term service and supply contracts and is also selling Currenta a €180 million package of real estate and infrastructure.
Separately, Lanxess has agreed to sell its chrome chemicals business to Brother Enterprises, a Chinese leather chemicals producer, saying that it “no longer fits in with our strategic focus on speciality chemicals”. The business, part of the Leather business unit, produces sodium dichromate and downstream chromic acid and chrome-tanning salts at two sites in South Africa. Lanxess will continue to do produce the latter under a toll contract until 2024.