BASF to Acquire Cognis, Expand Renewable Material Offerings

BASF SE announced it has reached an agreement to acquire specialty chemicals company Cognis. The total transaction is valued at €3.1 billion. The acquisition is subject to clearance by authorities but is expected to be completed by November 2010, at the latest.

John Feldmann, PhD, a member of the board of executive directors of BASF who is responsible for performance products said in a press statement, “By purchasing Cognis, we will expand our portfolio with products based on renewable raw materials. A broader and more attractive offering of products and services, combined with our research and development expertise, will allow us to become an even more important partner for joint development projects with our customers.”

Expanding BASF's product portfolio and leveraging the strengths of Cognis will likely produce a major powerhouse to supply innovative specialty chemicals for personal care product development. To imagine how the two R&D groups may leverage one another, C&T magazine asked Jennifer Moore-Braun, spokesman for BASF, how this arrangement may impact R&D efforts. Moore-Braun replied, "As we just announced [the acquisition] today, the agreement still has to go through all the approvals. So by November, we'll know more. We do know that Cognis has a strong track record of innovation, as does BASF, and our capabilities together will be a major strength. After the deal closes, we will look at the processes and determine how they fit together."

Antonio Trius, chief executive officer of Cognis, furthered in the company press announcement that Cognis has become a leading innovative supplier of specialty chemicals with particular focus on wellness and sustainability, and that its expertise in renewable raw-material based products has been a main success factor. He added, "We are convinced that there are excellent opportunities through combining the strengths of Cognis and BASF.”

The customers of Cognis include global consumer goods companies and regional suppliers from the personal and home care industries, as well as from the area of health and nutrition. The company also offers products for coatings and paints, lubricants for the transport industries and additives for chemical-technical applications for agriculture and mining.

Following the necessary approvals, the business will be integrated into BASF’s Performance Products segment, which aims at imparting unique characteristics to everyday products: for example diapers, vitamins for food supplements, UV filters for sunscreen and more.

“The acquisition of Cognis is an important step in our segment strategy of growth, value and sustainability,” said Feldmann.

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