French deal beckons for Bain Capital

Following the recent acquisition of German clothes manufacturer Jack Wolfskin, Bain Capital is set to acquire three chemical units from France’s Rhodia.

French speciality chemicals manufacturer Rhodia has confirmed that it is in talks with US-based buyout firm Bain Capital over the sale of three of its chemical units.

Neither party has indicated a price for the transaction, which comprises the sale of the Rhodia's carbonates, phenol and hydrochloric acid businesses which are all based in France. Reports in the French daily Le Figaro put the value of the deal at E140m. The three businesses employ a total of 470 people and reported collective turnover of E253m in 2001.

The sale by Rhodia is part of a disposal programme aimed at reducing debt by E500m. Earlier this week the firm sold its Rhodia-Ster division to the Italian Mossi & Ghisolfi Group for E190m. In July, French mid-market buyout firm Argos Soditic backed a management buyout of Rhodia’s technical fibres division, Kermel, for an undisclosed sum.

The deal would be Bain’s second recent European transaction following its E62m acquisition of German-based clothes manufacturer Jack Wolfskin from Johnson Outdoor in late August. The firm is also part of the PAI Management consortium which has offered around E3.5bn for Vivendi Universal’s publishing business.