Evonik sells carbon black and plans for IPO

GERMAN chemicals conglomerate Evonik will sell its carbon black unit to US financial investor Rhone Capital, in line with its step to ready itself for a public flotation within the next 15 months. The transaction is valued at over US$1.3 billion, including debt.

The group’s carbon black business, which comprises 16 production facilities in 11 countries, achieved sales of EUR1.2 billion in 2010. The unit is being acquired intact as a whole including its 1,650 employees, some 500 of whom are based in Germany.

“This represents another major step toward a more clear-cut profile for Evonik as a leading speciality chemicals company when it goes public,” Chief Executive Klaus Engel said in a statement. Evonik is majority owned by a government-controlled trust. Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners bought a 25% stake in Evonik in 2008.