ALTANA enters into agreement to acquire rheology modifier business from Rockwood

  • Expansion of highly specialized additives business
  • Take-over of four production sites and about 340 employees
  • Integration in BYK Additives & Instruments division

The specialty chemicals group ALTANA has signed a definite agreement to acquire the global rheology business of Rockwood Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ROC). The unit, currently part of Rockwood’s “Performance Additives” segment, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of rheology additives that optimize the flow characteristics of various materials. With about 340 employees at four production sites in the U.S., the UK and Germany the rheology business generated sales of USD 191 million in 2012. After approval by the relevant antitrust authorities, ALTANA will integrate the business into its BYK Additives & Instruments division.

The purchase price amounts to USD 635 million. The closing of the transaction is expected to take place in the fourth quarter of 2013.

With the acquisition ALTANA is expanding its existing additives portfolio. „The acquisition of Rockwood’s rheology business is fully in line with our focus on true specialty chemicals and opens up new growth opportunities,” ALTANA CEO Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber said. Rheology additives are amongst others used in coatings, construction materials and personal care products. They can, for example, ensure that coatings have the right viscosity and that they can be applied without forming droplets or bubbles.

„The acquisition is associated with an attractive growth potential“, Dr. Christoph Schlünken, President Division BYK Additives & Instruments, said. „We will for example use the existing BYK structure to grow the acquired rheology business in Asia.“ Currently about 40 percent of Rockwood’s rheology sales are generated each in North America and Europe.

With the acquisition ALTANA’s sales are expected to reach about EUR 1.9 billion. There will be four additional production sites: Gonzales (Texas), Louisville (Kentucky), Widnes (UK) and Moosburg (Germany). The number of employees will rise to about 5,700.

In 2012, ALTANA achieved sales of more than EUR 1.7 billion. With its high profitability and dynamic growth ALTANA is one of the most successful and innovative chemical groups worldwide. „By acquiring Rockwood’s rheology business, we are further enhancing our financial profile and are creating long-term value,“ Wolfgruber said.


ALTANA develops and produces high-quality, innovative products in the specialty chemicals business. The ALTANA Group, with headquarters in Wesel/Germany, is a genuine “global player” with about 85% of its sales generated by international activities. The ALTANA Group has four divisions: BYK Additives & Instruments, ECKART Effect Pigments, ELANTAS Electrical Insulation, and ACTEGA Coatings & Sealants. All of these divisions occupy a leading position in their target markets with respect to quality, product solution expertise, innovation and service.

ALTANA offers innovative, environmentally compatible solutions with the matching specialty products for coating manufacturers, paint and plastics processors, the printing and cosmetic industries, and the electrical and electronics industry. The product range includes additives, special coatings and adhesives, effect pigments, sealants and compounds, impregnating resins and varnishes, and testing and measuring instruments. At present, the ALTANA Group has 42 production facilities and more than 50 service and research laboratories worldwide. Throughout the Group about 5,360 people work to ensure the success of ALTANA worldwide. In 2012, ALTANA achieved sales of more than 1.7 billion euros. Its impressive earning power and high growth rate make ALTANA one of the most successful and innovative chemical groups worldwide.

About BYK Additives & Instruments:
BYK Additives & Instruments is one of the world’s leading suppliers in the additives and measuring instruments sector. Approximately 87% of sales are generated by foreign countries. The major export markets are Europe, the United States, and the Far East.

Additives are chemical substances which, even in small quantities, improve product properties such as scratch resistance or surface gloss. Manufacturing processes are also optimized through the use of additives. The coatings, printing inks, and plastics industries are some of the main areas of application for BYK additives. And BYK additives also serve to improve product properties and production processes in paper surface finishing, or the production of adhesives and sealants, and in construction chemistry. In 2009, BYK extended its portfolio to include raw materials for the production of mold release agents for aluminum die casting. BYK testing and measuring instruments can quantify the quality of color and gloss, and the physical properties of paint, plastic and paper products. Instruments from BYK are predominantly used for quality control.

BYK Additives & Instruments employs around 1,450 people worldwide, 25% of whom work in research and development departments or technical laboratories.

About Rockwood:
Rockwood Holdings, Inc. is a leading global specialty chemicals and advanced materials company. Rockwood has a worldwide employee base of approximately 10,200 people and annual net sales of approximately $3.5 billion in 2012. Rockwood focuses on global niche segments of the specialty chemicals, pigments and additives and advanced materials markets.