Huntsman completes $1 billion pigments purchase

Woodlands-based chemical manufacturer Hunstman Corp. on Wednesday completed a $1 billion purchase of titanium dioxide and other assets the company announced more than a year ago.

The acquisition of assets from New Jersey-based Rockwood Holdings makes Huntsman the second-largest maker in the world of titanium dioxide and inorganic color pigments, used in paint, coatings and other products. Chemical company DuPont is the largest.

“We’re slightly smaller than DuPont, but we’re more diversified and we have more colors, more technologies and a greater global reach,” CEO Peter Huntsman said Wednesday in an interview with Fuel Fix.

Huntsman said the acquisition extends the company’s global reach by broadening their product line. Rockwood’s assets are used in products such as plastics, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.

“We either had to expand, consolidate or cut costs and become a market leader, or get out,” Huntsman said. “Frankly, over the last three years, we looked at selling (the pigments) division, merging it or buying out others. This was the option that made the most sense and created the most shareholder value in the longer term.”

Related: Huntsman buying pigments business assets for $1.1B

The deal took more than a year to complete in part because Huntsman needed clearance from the European Commission. Rockwood is the second largest pigments producer in the Europe, Huntsman said. In order to get regulatory approval for the deal, Huntsman had to divest about 3 percent of its combined assets to comply with Europe’s antitrust laws, Huntsman said. The commission greenlighted the deal Wednesday.

The purchase adds more than 4,000 employees to the company’s ranks, swelling its size to nearly 17,000 workers. Scores of those new employees will move to the company’s Montgomery County operations, where more than 1,000 people work, Huntsman said.

Huntsman’s stock closed down 49 cents to $25.50 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

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