Tronox responds to US District Court’s decision on proposed acquisition of Saudi-headquartered Cristal

Tronox, a global mining and inorganic chemicals company, commented on the decision by the US District Court for the District of Columbia granting the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) request for a preliminary injunction regarding Tronox’s proposed acquisition of Cristal.

Cristal is a privately held global chemical and mining company, headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Image courtesy: Cristal)
Cristal is a privately held global chemical and mining company, headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. (Image courtesy: Cristal)

The company intends to promptly file a notice of appeal and request an expedited hearing of its appeal to reverse the court’s decision so Tronox may proceed with the merger. Simultaneous to its pursuit of an appeal, Tronox will be considering whether to proceed with the remedial divestiture of Cristal’s Ashtabula, Ohio, two-plant titanium dioxide (TiO2) production complex.

As announced on 16 July 2018, Tronox and Venator Materials entered into a binding Memorandum of Understanding providing for the negotiation of a definitive agreement to sell the Ashtabula complex to Venator should a divestiture of Ashtabula be required to consummate the Cristal acquisition.

The latest judicial decision was released under seal to provide counsel for Tronox, Cristal and the FTC an opportunity to review the text of the decision to ensure it contained no confidential information. The full decision is expected to be issued early next week.

Tronox is disappointed by the US District Court’s decision to further delay this output-enhancing combination designed to increase the supply of TiO2 for North American customers and position Tronox to succeed in a fiercely competitive global market,” said Jeffry N Quinn, president and CEO of Tronox.

“As we pursue an appeal, Tronox has valuable alternatives to consider, including a possible remedial transaction to divest the Ashtabula facility for $1.1bn to Venator, or waiting for a decision by the FTC’s Administrative Law Judge in the Part 3 Procedure.”

“During the Part 3 Procedure, I believe, we convincingly demonstrated that the FTC’s objections to the Cristal transaction are entirely misplaced and this highly synergistic transaction will significantly increase production of TiO2 to the benefit of customers in North America and around the world. We intend to be as transparent and open as possible and will be forthcoming with our chosen course of action at the appropriate time,” concluded Quinn.

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