Evonik acquires Porocel for $210mn to accelerate growth of catalysts business

Acquisition of Porocel gives Evonik access to catalyst rejuvenation technology and to available production capacity

Catalyst rejuvenation reduces CO2 emissions and facilitates a circular economy.
Catalyst rejuvenation reduces CO2 emissions and facilitates a circular economy.

Evonik is acquiring the Porocel Group for $210mn to accelerate the growth of its catalysts business. Based in Houston, Texas, Porocel offers a technology for highly efficient rejuvenation of desulphurisation catalysts, which are in increasing demand to produce low-sulphur fuel. Rejuvenation reduces carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 50% compared with the production of new desulphurisation catalysts. In addition, Porocel has available production capacity, enabling Evonik to speed up expansion of its existing business with fixed-bed catalysts.

This acquisition is the next logical step in the strategic development of our portfolio. Our focus is on stable and high-margin specialty chemicals,” said Christian Kullmann, chairman of the executive board. “We are systematically expanding the share of our specialty businesses – and that at an attractive valuation.”

The purchase price (enterprise value) is 9.1 times adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in 2019, which is an attractive valuation for a high-quality asset in the catalyst sector. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2020 and is subject to approval by the relevant authorities.

Porocel generated sales of approximately $100mn and EBITDA of about $23mn in 2019. The EBITDA margin at around 23% is above Evonik's target range of 18%-20%. Porocel has increased its EBITDA significantly in the last three years, driven by new product development through an expansion of research and development capabilities. The company has more than 300 employees worldwide and production facilities in the USA, Canada, Luxembourg, and Singapore.

Porocel’s global position strengthens the worldwide presence of Evonik's catalyst activities. The complementary fit to Evonik’s existing catalyst portfolio and especially the available production capacities offer considerable growth opportunities. Evonik expects to increase sales of the combined catalyst business to significantly more than $591.90mn by the end of 2025 without the need for investment in new capacities.

Catalysts are essential for the production of many chemical products and for production of clean fuels. The market is characterised by a broad spectrum of applications and robust growth of around four percent with low cyclicality.

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