BASF Aktiengesellschaft, Ludwigshafen, today acquired the global electronic chemicals business of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt. The purchase price is €270 million. The transaction is still subject to approval by the regulatory authorities. Closing is expected in the second quarter of 2005.
In the first nine months of 2004, Merck increased global sales at its electronic chemicals business by 16 percent to €155 million. The business currently has about 600 employees.
Through the acquisition of these new activities, BASF will become a leading supplier of electronic chemicals for the rapidly growing semiconductor industry and for the production of flat screens, another area that shows high growth rates. The business acquired from Merck will help develop BASF’s electronic chemicals business and will significantly strengthen BASF’s market position in Europe and Asia. “This deal supports BASF’s strategic goal of profitable growth and at the same time provides us with a solid foundation for our future in the electronics industry,“ said Dr. Harald Schwager, head of the Inorganics division.
“Our customers will benefit from BASF’s expertise in chemistry and production combined with Merck’s experience in purification, formulation and analysis,” said Dr. Karl-Rudolf Kurtz, head of BASF’s Electronic Materials business unit. “By combining all our electronic chemicals activities, our business unit provides a platform for our future growth in this innovative and growing industry,” he said. “Through this acquisition, BASF will become a system supplier for the electronics industry and will be able to supply its customers with tailor-made solution.
The acquisition includes Merck’s production sites and distribution centers for high-purity chemicals in Taiwan, Malaysia, China, Singapore, France, the Netherlands and Germany.
For a given period of time – at the latest until the end of 2005 – Merck and BASF shall jointly manage the business in the key Taiwanese market under leadership by BASF. This is intended as a signal to both customers and employees that both parties are particularly interested in ensuring a smooth transition and developing the business further.
Following the end of the transition period – but by no later than the end of 2005 – BASF has the right to acquire Merck’s share in operations in Taiwan.
Electronic chemicals are essential for the production of semiconductor chips and flat screens. Such chemicals are extremely pure and are characterized by above-average growth rates. The global market for electronic chemicals was worth €3 billion in 2003 and has grown by an average of 10 percent per year in recent years.
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