Huntsman’s Venator Materials Corp. preps for IPO

The spinoff of Huntsman Corp.’s pigments and additives business is moving forward with an upcoming initial public offering, although the date has not yet been announced.

Huntsman’s new Venator Materials Corp. filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to raise up to $100 million in the IPO. The previously stated goal though is to have the new company publicly trading by the end of June.

Venator, which would trade under the stock ticker “VNTR,” is a Latin word for “hunter” — a play off of the family name.

The Woodlands-based Huntsman said the new Venator would focus largely on the titanium dioxide chemical, called TiO2, which is used as a pigment for everything from food coloring and paints to coatings and sunscreen. The business is more cyclical than Huntsman’s other divisions and prone to more financial peaks and valleys. Huntsman has valued the business at more than $2 billion, but plans to maintain a large ownership stake.

Huntsman became the world’s second-largest pigments producer more than two years ago after buying more than $1 billion in plants from New York-based Rockwood Holdings. But the timing was bad, Chief Executive Peter Huntsman has admitted. Huntsman said he bought the Rockwood assets at a good price during a cyclical low, but that trough lasted two years longer than expected and dragged down the value of Huntsman Corp.

Huntsman has said he’s been eyeing potential mergers or acquisitions that could be made with proceeds from the spinoff.

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