Third deal for Bain Capital

The US private equity house has made its third acquisition in seven days, paying around $100m for three chemical units from Rhodia.

Bain Capital has continued its strategy of snapping up non-core activities of European industrial groups, buying three basic chemical units from French specialist chemicals group Rhodia.


Bain Capital is thought to be paying around E100m for the three units, which comprise phenol, hydrochloric acid and soda ash operations in France and elsewhere in Europe. The three non-core assets represent around E280m in annual sales and employ around 460 people.


Rhodia has opted to retain a 20 per cent stake in the businesses. The sale completes Rhodia’s divestment strategy for 2002, taking its revenues from disposals above the original E500m target.


Bain Capital has been an active investor in Europe since the mid 1980s. Among the firm’s acquisitions are Netherlands-based international business-to-business services and distribution group Buhrmann (1999), Italian publisher Seat Pagine (1997), and Georg Lingenbrink, Germany’s largest book distributor.


Latterly the firm has focused on carve-outs from European industrial groups. Most recently, Bain Capital signed an agreement to acquire Trespaphan, Celanese AG's global oriented polypropylene (OPP) film business, and has entered into exclusive negotiations with Vivendi Universal for the acquisition of Houghton Mifflin as part of the consortium comprising Thomas H Lee, Blackstone and Apax Partners.


Last week, Bain Capital also announced a memorandum of understanding with TotalFinaElf for the acquisition of SigmaKalon, Europe's second largest decorative paint maker, for around E1bn. In September, the firm completed the acquisition of German outdoor clothing, footwear and equipment manufacturer Jack Wolfskin, a unit of Johnson Outdoors.