Rockwood Takes Control of Sachtlaben

On Thursday, specialty chemicals producer Rockwood Holdings (NYSE: ROC  ) announced that it has agreed to buy out partner Kemira Oyj's 39% interest in the companies' Sachtleben titanium dioxide (TiO2) joint venture. Rockwood will pay EUR 97.5 million, or $130 million, to take control of the JV, in a transaction expected to close by February 19, 2013.

Perversely, though, while Rockwood is paying to acquire Sachtleben, it may not really want to own it. In a statement explaining the move, Rockwood Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Seifi Ghasemi noted that "the titanium dioxide business is non-core [and] it is our key objective this year to explore and execute on the best strategic option for Rockwood. Attaining 100% ownership of the joint venture provides us with the flexibility to achieve this goal."

In other words, Rockwood's real motivation in wanting to own all of Sachtleben appears to be ... because it will make it easier to sell all off Sachtleben to somebody else.


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